Graduate and undergraduate students conduct research in the Forest Ecology Lab in collaboration with each other, Dr. Larson, and external partners. The Lab is affiliated with regional and global forest research and monitoring networks, including the Smithsonian Center for Tropical Forest Science and the Southwestern Crown Collaborative. These relationships provide opportunities for student research in a variety of settings. Prospective students should contact Dr. Larson directly.
Successful applicants tend to have excellent preparation in quantitative analysis techniques, demonstrable proficiency in technical writing, and a record of successfully managing and completing complex projects. Successful applicants typically have GRE scores that exceed the 70th percentile and an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or greater, although all aspects of an applicant's record are considered and real-world products (e.g., published and unpublished technical reports) and experiences (e.g., project management experience) receive considerable weight in the evaluation process.
There are no openings presently, but prospective students are nevertheless encouraged to contact Dr. Larson as openings do occasionally arise on short notice. Please include enough information to initiate a conversation, including a CV or resume, GRE scores, unofficial transcripts, and a professional writing sample.
Dr. Larson generally advises one undergraduate thesis each academic year. Independent study projects are also available and Dr. Larson can advise several independent study projects each semester. Students interested in pursuing an undergraduate thesis in the Forest Ecology Lab should contact Dr. Larson early in spring semester of their junior year.
An undergraduate thesis is a significant body of work resulting in public presentation of research findings and a manuscript suitable for publication in a refereed journal. The general timeline and expectations for a senior thesis in the Forest Ecology Lab include:
Presentations and publications resulting from undergraduate theses
Gabrielson, A.T., A.J. Larson, J.A. Lutz, and J.J. Reardon. 2012. Biomass and burning characteristics of sugar pine cones. Fire Ecology 8: 58-70. (pdf)
Gabrielson, A.T. 2012. Biomass and burning characteristics of Pinus lambertiana cones. University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research. April 13, 2012. Missoula, Montana, USA.
Gabrielson, A.T., Larson, A.J., Lutz, J.A., Reardon, J.J. 2012. Biomass and burning characteristics of Pinus lambertiana cones. Northwest Scientific Association Annual Meeting. March 28-30, 2012. Boise, Idaho, USA. (pdf) (Third place, student poster competition.)
Brett, L. 2011. Modeling stand dynamics and landscape heterogeneity in mixed conifer forest following mountain pine beetle outbreak. University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research. April 15, 2011. Missoula, Montana, USA.
Brett, L. and Larson, A.J. 2011. Modeling stand dynamics and landscape heterogeneity in mixed conifer forest following mountain pine beetle outbreak. CONFOR West 2011. February 3-5, 2011. Jasper, Alberta, Canada.