PaleoEcology and Fire Ecology Lab

Forest and fire ecology in the context of environmental change

Research in the PaleoEcology and Fire Ecology Lab focuses on understanding the interactions among climate, vegetation, and fire regimes over a range of spatial and temporal scales, in the past, present, and future. Understanding ecological change over time integrates projects within the lab, revealing patterns and processes unobservable over human life spans, providing context for ongoing environmental change, and helping anticipate the consequences of future environmental change.

Recent Lab News:

  • We're looking for an undergraduate research assistant to join the Big Burns Project! (1/2018)
  • New paper in a special issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment lead by former post-doc Jesse Morris, titled "Bark beetles as agesnts of change in social-ecological systems." 
  • New paper in Ecology Letters highlighting evidence for declining forest resilience to wildfires under climate change (12/2017)
  • New paper in Biogeosciences highlighting how fire-regime variability can have long-lasting impacts on forest carbon dynamics (9/2017)
  • Editorial published in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Phil and colleagues, titled "Learning to live with Western wildfires" (10/2017)
  • Lots of press coverage of the 2017 fire season across local and national outlets, including High Country News, AMP's Marketplace, and more. (9-11/2017)
  • The lab was well represented at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Portland Oregon this month, with four current and two past members delivering talks (Davis, Hoecker, Kemp, Young) or posters (Hankin et al.Higuera et al.) (8/2017) 
  • Our new NSF grant, "The Big Burns Project," officially started on Aug. 1st: Press Release (8/1/2017)  
  • Welcome Kyra Wolfwho joins the lab as an incoming MS student in the Systems Ecology program, working on the Big Burns Project (7/2017)
  • Congratulations to Tyler Hoecker, MS, for successfully defending and earning his MS thesis (6/2017)
  • New paper in Ecology highlights how wildfires catalyzed rapid ecological change in the Puget Lowlands over the past 12,000 years (5/2017)
  • New paper in The Holocene led by former post-doc Jesse Morris, from our work in Tasmania, Australia, highlighting the ability of pollen to detect fire-caused vegetation change in subalpine forests (5/2017) 
  • New paper in Enviornmetrics led by PalEON PhD student Malcom Itter, presenting a new Bayesian model to reconstruct wildfires from sediment-charcoal records (3/2017)
  • Fully funded, four-year PhD assistantship available: Causes and consequences of fire-regime variability in Rocky Mountain forests. More information(12/2016)
  • New paper in Environmental Research Letters titled "Wildfires and geochemical change in a subalpine forest over the past six millennia," led by Berangere Leys, and including Phil, colleague Kendra McLauchlan, and former Lab MS student Paul Dunnette (12/2016)
  • New paper in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment titled "Changing disturbance regimes, ecological memory, and forest resilience," led by colleagues Jill Johnstone and Monica Turner (9/2016)
  • Welcome Lacey Hankin, who joins the lab as an incoming MS student in the System Ecology program (8/2016)
  • Congratulations to Adam Young, PhD Candidate, for his recent publication in the journal Ecography (5/2016)
  • Welcome Kim Taylor, PhD, who joins the lab as a post-doctoral scientist. Kim is the principal author on the Joint Fire Science Program grant awarded to study post-fire seedling regeneration at lower treeline. (4/2016)
  • The lab was recently awarded two separate grants from the Joint Fire Science Program, to study the consequences of wildfires in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest on ecological and social systems. (4/2016)
  • Congratulations to  MS student Tyler Hoecker, who won a 2015 Outstanding Student Paper Award for his talk at AGU last December! (2/2016)
  • New paper in BioScience titled "The Science of Firescapes: achieving fire-resilient communities," led by colleague Alistair Smith (2/2016)
  • Our new University of Montana lab web page is up! (1/2016)
  • Lab members were well represented at the 2015 AGU meeting in San Francisco: Tyler and Phil delivered talks, and Adam Young delivered a poster (12/2015)
  • Invited commentary published in PNAS considering the causes and consequences of large wildfires, highlighting work by colleagues John Calder, Bryan Shuman, et al. (11/2015)
  • Kerry Kemp and Phil Higuera delivered talks at the 6th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress, in San Antonio, TX (11/2015)
  • Congratulations to Kerry Kemp for successfully defending her PhD! Kerry is now working as a Forest Ecologist for the Nature Conservancy in central Oregon (11/2015)
  • New paper in Landscape Ecology led by PhD Candidate Kerry Kemp, focused on post-fire conifer regeneration in the Northern Rockies (10/2015)
  • New paper out in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, including Phil and PhD Candidate Adam Young, focused on tundra fires in the Arctic (10/2015)

Read more news on the Lab News page or on Facebook and Twitter

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