I am a PhD student in the Program in Ecology and Department of Botany studying with Dr. Daniel Tinker at the University in Wyoming.
My primary interests lie in forest ecology, disturbance ecology, landscape ecology, and spatial ecology. I hold a BS in Forestry Biology (2004) and a MS in Forest Ecology (2009) from Colorado State University. For the last decade, I have participated in forest ecology research throughout Colorado and Wyoming examining forest management and carbon offsets and the effects of the recent mountain pine beetle outbreak on lodgepole pine forests. After graduating with my MS degree, I spent two years working for the USDA Forest Service; first, as a monitoring analyst for the Washington DC office then as a technology transfer forester for the National Inventory and Monitoring Application Center. In 2012, I decided to return to forest ecology research and pursue a PhD at the University of Wyoming.
My dissertation focuses on varying aspects of climate change, fire regimes, and wildland fire. In my first chapter, I address the observation that recent increases in annual area burned, individual fire size and fire frequency across western North America must lead to broader extents of young forests by being the first to complete an in depth landscape-scale assessment of surface and canopy fuel loads across post-1988 burned forests in Yellowstone National Park. My second chapter illustrates spatial and temporal patterns of canopy and surface fuel moisture during historic burn windows in young and mature lodgepole pine stands using a novel physical live fuel moisture model and an existing physical surface fuel moisture model. For my third chapter, I plan to use the models developed and validated in chapter 2 to estimate how landscape patterns of live and dead fuel moisture may be impacted by increases in the length of fire season and elevated future temperature and drought stress as projected with climate change.