People

Lab PI

Postdoctoral Scientists

Kimberly Davis, PhD, Postdoctoral Scientist, 2016-

Kim earned her PhD in Ecology and Environmental Science from Montana State University in spring 2016. Her dissertation research focused on understanding the drivers and feedbacks of lodgepole pine invasion in New Zealand and Patagonia, as part of the NSF-funded WildFIRE PIRE project. As a post-doc, Kim is leading work investigating post-fire tree regeneration of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir across low-elevation forests in the western U.S. Her work is jointly funded by a Joint Fire Science Program grant titled “Climate variability and post-fire regeneration in the Northern Rockies,” and a NSF grant lead by collaborator and CFC faculty Solomon Dobrowski. kimberley.davis@umontana.edu

Post-doc related publications (as of 1/2019):

Davis, K. T., S. Z. Dobrowski, Z. A. Holden, P. E. Higuera, and J. T. Abatzoglou. 2019. Microclimatic buffering in forests of the future: the role of local water balance. Ecography 42:1-11. *Editors Choice*

Davis, K. T., P. E. Higuera, and A. Sala. 2018. Anticipating fire-mediated impacts of climate change using a demographic framework. Functional Ecology 32:1729-1745.

Kimberly Davis, PhD, Postdoctoral Scientist, 2016-

Graduate students

Kyra Wolf, PhD student 2017-

Kyra is an PhD student in the Systems Ecology Program at the University of Montana. Kyra is studying the causes and biogeochemical consequences of wildfires over the past 2500 yr in the Northern Rockies, as part of the NSF-funded Big Burns Project. In October 2018, Kyra was awarded a Joint Fire Science Program Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) fellowship, to study post-fire conifer regeneration following two large wildfires that burned during the regional fire year of 2017. Kyra graduated from Colorado College, suma cum laude, with a B.A. in Environmental Science, in 2016. kyra.wolf@umontana.edu

Kyra Wolf, PhD student 2017-

Undergraduate students

Allison Hendryx, undergraduate student, 2018-

Allie is an undergraduate student in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, majoring in Wildlife Biology. She joined the lab in spring 2018 and is participating in research associated with the NSF-funded Big Burns Project and the JFSP-funded post-fire tree regeneration project, both in the Northern Rockies. Allie is also undertaking independent research investigating changes in bird abundance and species diversity in recently burned forests, as part of the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program and her senior thesis.

Allison Hendryx, undergraduate student, 2018-

Lab Alumni (chronological order)

Adam Young, PhD 2011-2018

Adam earned his PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho in May 2018, for his dissertation titled "Sensitivity of past, present, and future fire regimes to climate and vegetation variability in boreal forest and tundra ecosystems." Adam was a PhD student in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho, and a visiting scientist at the University of Montana (2015-2017). In addition to funding from a NSF grant, Adam's work was funded by a Joint Fire Science Program Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) Fellowship, and a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. Adam has a B.S. degree in Environmental Biology from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY, and a MS in statistics from the University of Idaho. After earning his PhD, Adam started a position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Richardson Lab at Northern Arizona University, in July 2018. adam.young@nau.edu

Dissertation-related publications (as of 1/2019): 

Young, A. M., P. E. Higuera, J. T. Abatzoglou, P. A. Duffy, and F. S. Hu. 2019. Consequences of climatic thresholds for projecting fire activity and ecological change. Global Ecology and Biogeography In Press. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-018-00766-8

Young, A. M., P. E. Higuera, P. A. Duffy, and F. S. Hu. 2017. Climatic thresholds shape northern high‐latitude fire regimes and imply vulnerability to future climate change. Ecography 40:606-617. *Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Paper*

Hu, F. S., P. E. Higuera, P. A. Duffy, M. L. Chipman, A. V. Rocha, A. M. Young, R. Kelly, and M. Dietz. 2015. Tundra fires in the Arctic: Natural variability and responses to climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13:369-377.

Adam Young, PhD 2011-2018

Lacey Hankin, MS student, 2016-2018

Lacey earned her MS in the Systems Ecology Program at the University of Montana in May 2018, for her thesis titled "Annual climate impacts on tree growth and post-fire regeneration in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir in the northern Rocky Mountains." Lacey graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Biology and History, in 2014. After earning her MS, Lacey started a PhD program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno, in summer 2018, working in the Bisbing Forest Ecology & Silviculture Lab. lacey.hanking@gmail.com


Thesis-related publications (as of 1/2019): 

Hankin, L. E., P. E. Higuera, K. T. Davis, and S. Z. Dobrowski. In Revision (1/2019). Impacts of growing-season climate on tree growth and post-fire regeneration in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests. Ecosphere. In Revision. 

Hankin, L. E., P. E. Higuera, K. T. Davis, and S. Z. Dobrowski. 2018. Accuracy of node and bud-scar counts for aging two dominant conifers in western North America. Forest Ecology and Management 427:365-371.

Lacey Hankin, MS student, 2016-2018

Lawrence Crofutt, undergraduate student, 2016-2018

Lawrence was an undergraduate student in the College of Forestry and Conservation, graduating with a degree in Forestry in Dec. 2018. He joined the Lab during the autumn semester of 2016 and assisted with research examining post-fire tree regeneration of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir across low-elevation forests in the western U.S. Lawrence also complete a senior thesis, titled "Post-fire conifer regeneration growth patterns in low-elevation forests of the U.S. Northern Rockies," partially funded by an Ireen Evers Undergraduate Reserach Scholarship. 

Lawrence Crofutt, undergraduate student, 2016-2018

Lauren Converse, undergraduate student, 2017-2018

Lauren was an undergraduate student in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, graduating with a major in Forestry in spring 2018. She joined the Lab during the summer of 2017 and is assisting with research examining post-fire tree regeneration of ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir, and with the Big Burns Project investigating the causes and consequences of wildfires over the past 2500 yr, both in the Northern Rockies.

Lauren Converse, undergraduate student, 2017-2018

Tyler Hoecker, MS student 2014-2017

Tyler earned his MS in the Systems Ecology Program at the University of Montana in May 2017, for his thesis titled "Understanding the patterns and drivers of Alaskan fire-regime variability across spatial and temporal scales." Tyler focused on a synthesis of published paleofire records, which was recognized for an Outstanding Student Paper Award by the American Geophysical Union in 2015, and developing new records from the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge as part of the NSF-funded PalEON project. Tyler earned a B.A. in Environmental Science from Willamette University in 2011, and worked for the Forest Service and in the private section surveying salmonid habitat in the Columbia River basin. After earning his MS in 2017, Tyler started a PhD program at the University of Wisconsin, working with Professor Monica Turner in the Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology Lab. hoecker@wisc.edu 

Thesis-related publicaitons (as of 1/2019): 

Hoecker, T. J., and P. E. Higuera. 2019. Forest succession and climate variability interacted to control fire activity over the last four centuries in an Alaskan boreal landscape Landscape Ecology In Press.

Tyler Hoecker, MS student 2014-2017

Lucas Townsend, undergraduate student, 2016-2017

Lucas graduated with a B.S. in Forestry from the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, in May 2017. He joined the lab in summer 2016 to work on a NPS-funded project investigating fire history and ecological impacts of fuels treatments near McCarthy Alaska, in Wrangle St. Elias National Park. Lucas worked on this project for his senior thesis, using dendrochronology to reconstruct the history stand-replacing fires and post-fire stand dynamics. Lucas started a MS program in Forestry at the University of Montana in fall 2017, working with Professor Beth Dodson. 

Lucas Townsend, undergraduate student, 2016-2017

Andy Neumann, undergraduate student, 2016-2017

Andy was an undergraduate student in the College of Forestry and Conservation, graduating with a BS in Resource Conservation. He worked in the lab from spring 2016 through spring 2017, helping develop fire-history records form Alaskan lake-sediment records, as part of the PalEON project

Kerry Sullivan, research assistant, 2016

Kerry was a MS student in the College of Forestry and Conservation's Resource Conservation program. She worked in the lab from spring through fall 2016 helping develop fire-history records form Alaskan lake-sediment records, as part of the PalEON project. Kerry earned her BS in Biology from Green Mountain College, in Poultney, VT.

Kerry Sullivan, research assistant, 2016

Camie Westfall, research assistant, 2016

Camie worked in the lab full time during the spring semester of 2016, and was integral in getting the new lab up and running at UM. She helped develop fire-history records form Alaskan lake-sediment records, as part of the PalEON project. Camie earned her BS in Environmental Biology from Pacific University, in Forest Grove, OR, in December 2015.

Camie Westfall, research assistant, 2016

Kerry Kemp, PhD, 2010-2015

Kerry earned her PhD from the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho in December 2015 for her dissertation titled "Wildfire and Climate Change in Mixed-Conifer Ecosystems of the Northern Rockies: Implications for Forest Recovery and Management." In 2012 Kerry was awarded a Joint Fire Science Program Graduate Research INnovation (GRIN) fellowship and a Stillinger Forest Science Fellowship to help fund her research. Prior to graduate school, Kerry earned a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder (summa cum laude). Kerry is currently employed as a Forest Ecologist for the Nature Conservancy in central Oregon

Dissertation-related publications (as of 1/2019): 

Kemp, K. B., P. E. Higuera, P. Morgan, and J. T. Abatzoglou. 2019. Climate will increasingly determine post-fire tree regeneration success in low-elevation forests, Northern Rockies, USA. Ecosphere. In Press (1/2019)

Kemp, K. B., P. E. Higuera, and P. Morgan. 2016. Fire legacies impact conifer regeneration across environmental gradients in the U.S. northern Rockies. Landscape Ecology 31:619-636.

Stevens-Rumann, C. S., K. B. Kemp, P. E. Higuera, B. J. Harvey, M. T. Rother, D. C. Donato, P. Morgan, and T. T. Veblen. 2018. Evidence for declining forest resilience to wildfires under climate change. Ecology Letters 21:243-252.

Blades, J. J., P. Z. Klos, K. B. Kemp, T. E. Hall, J. E. Force, P. Morgan, and W. T. Tinkham. 2016. Forest managers’ response to climate change science: evaluating the constructs of boundary objects and organizations. Forest Ecology and Management 360:376-387.

Klos, P. Z., J. Abatzoglou, A. Bean, J. Blades, M. A. Clark, M. Dodd, T. E. Hall, A. Haruch, P. E. Higuera, J. D. Holbrook, V. S. Jansen, K. Kemp, A. Lankford, T. E. Link, T. Magney, A. J. H. Meddens, L. Mitchell, B. Moore, P. Morgan, B. A. Newingham, R. J. Niemeyer, B. Soderquist, A. A. Suazo, K. T. Vierling, V. Walden, and C. Walsh. 2015. Indicators of climate change in Idaho: An assessment framework for coupling biophysical change and social perception. Weather, Climate, and Society 7:238-254.

Kerry Kemp, PhD, 2010-2015

Jesse Morris, Postdoctoral scientist 2013-2015

Jesse holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Utah. His research interests are in examining long-term disturbance history, including fire and insect outbreaks, and understanding how regime shifts are modulated by climate and human activity. As a postdoc in the lab, Jesse worked as part of the WildFIRE PIRE team, investigating the causes and consequences of fire in the Central Plateau of Tasmania, Australia. Jesse's research and publication are available on his web site, jessemorris3.com. Follow Jesse on Twitter @jesselmorris3 

Post-doc Related Publications: 

Morris, J. L., P. E. Higuera, S. Haberle, and C. Whitlock. 2017. Modern pollen from small hollows reflects Athrotaxis cupressoides density across a wildfire gradient in subalpine forests of the Central Plateau, Tasmania, Australia. The Holocene 27:1781-1788.

Morris, J. L., K. K. McLauchlan, and P. E. Higuera. 2015. Sensitivity and complacency of sedimentary biogeochemical records to climate-mediated forest disturbances. Earth-Science Reviews 148:121-133.

Jesse Morris, Postdoctoral scientist 2013-2015

Adam Price, undergraduate 2013-2015

Adam was an undergraduate in the Geology program at the University of Idaho and worked in the Lab from October 2013 through December 2015. He helped develop fire history records from small hollow sediments from Tasmania, Australia, as part of the WildFIRE PIRE project. 

Adam Price, undergraduate 2013-2015

Cassidy Robertson, undergraduate, 2013-2015

Cassidy was an undergraduate student in the Ecology and Conservation Biology program in the College of Natural Resources. Cassidy worked in the lab from September 2013 through December 2015, helping develop fire history records from tundra ecosystems in Alaska, as part of the NSF "tundra-fire" project. During the summer of 2014, Cassidy worked as an intern at the College of Natural Resources' Taylor Wilderness Research Station in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Cassidy's research at the station focused on understanding the dendroecology of Douglas-fir across environmental gradients, and it will become part of her undergraduate thesis work.

Cassidy Robertson, undergraduate, 2013-2015

Meghan Foard, Lab Technician 2014-2015

Meghan worked on the PalEON project, focusing on measuring tree-ring from white spruce trees to help understand growth-climate in boreal forests of Alaska. Meghan has a B.S. in Natural Science from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN and an M.S. in Environmental Science from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro. 

Meghan Foard, Lab Technician 2014-2015

Rachel Albertson, undergraduate 2013-2015

Rachel Albertson graduated in 2015 with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science. She worked in the lab helping develop fire history records from small hollow sediments from Tasmania, Australia, as part of the WildFIRE PIRE project.

Rachel Albertson, undergraduate 2013-2015

Kaitlynn Palmer, undergraduate 2013-2014

Kaitlynn was an undergraduate student in the Environmental Science program and worked in the lab helping develop fire history records from tundra ecosystem in Alaska, as part of the NSF "tundra-fire" project. 

Kaitlynn Palmer, undergraduate 2013-2014

Paul Dunnette, M.S. student 2010-2013

Paul earned his MS degree in Natural Resources from the Univeristy of Idaho in Fall 2013, for his thesis titled "Biogeochemical Impacts of Fire Over Four Millennia in a Rocky Mountain Subalpine Watershed." His work combined his interestes in forest ecosystem processes, fire ecology, and disturbance history. While a graduate student, Paul was awarded a Stillinger Forest Science Fellowship. Prior to graduate school, Paul obtained a BS degree in Environmental Science from Portland State University, and a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Portland. 

Thesis-related publicaitons: 

Dunnette, P. V., P. E. Higuera, K. K. McLauchlan, K. M. Derr, C. E. Briles, and M. H. Keefe. 2014. Biogeochemical impacts of wildfires over four millennia in a Rocky Mountain subalpine watershed. New Phytologist 203:900-912.

Leys, B. A., P. E. Higuera, K. K. McLauchlan, and P. V. Dunnette. 2016. Wildfires and geochemical change in a subalpine forest over the past six millennia. Environmental Research Letters 11:125003.

Paul Dunnette, M.S. student 2010-2013

Kelly Derr, Postdoctoral scientist 2010-2014

Kelly was a Research Scientist (2010-2012) and Post Doctoral Fellow (2013) in the lab. She received her PhD from Washington State University in 2012. As an archaeologist, her research focused on anthropogenic burning and human-environment-climate interactions, with a focus on identifying human arrival into ecosystems using fossil pollen and charcoal records. As of Feb. 2014, Kelly is a Project Archaeologist with Historical Research Associates in Portland, OR. 

Kelly Derr, Postdoctoral scientist 2010-2014

Patrick Flanigan, undergraduate student 2013

Patrick graduated in Dec. 2013 with a double major in Environmental Science and International Studies, winning an Alumni Award for Excellence and the Honors Program "Core Award." He worked in the lab from April-Dec. 2013, helping develop fire history records from small hollow sediments from Tasmania, Australia, as part of the WildFIRE PIRE project. In Fall 2013 Patrick assisted in collecting a lake-sediment core from the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada, which he used to develop a senior thesis project.

Patrick Flanigan, undergraduate student 2013

Shannon Pauli, undergraduate student 2011-2013

Shannon graduated with a B.S. degree in Fire Ecology and Management in 2013. She worked in the lab from July 2011 through July 2013, focusing on fire history in Colorado subalpine forests and tundra fire history in Alaska. In summer 2012, Shannon participated in three weeks of field work in Alaska, helping the lab collect lake sediment records from the Noatak National Preserve. Shannon write a senior thesis that focused on historic fire regimes in the Noatak National Preserve, combining GIScience and comparisons to existing fire history records.

Shannon Pauli, undergraduate student 2011-2013

Margaret Ward Keefe, Lab technician 2010-2012

Maggie was a lab technician in the Paleoecology and Fire Ecology Lab from 2010-2012 and was instrumental in setting up the lab and keep things running smoothly for its first few years. Maggie has a B.A. in Biology from Ithaca College, NY, and an M.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Maine, Orono.  

Ryan Moran, undergraduate student 2011

Ryan was an undergraduate student in the College of Natural Resources working on a BS degree in Fire Ecology and Management. Ryan worked in the lab from July-December 2011, focusing on fire history and biogeochemical proxies from sediment cores from Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Donnovan VanSant, undergraduate student 2011

Donnovan worked in the lab in the spring of 2011 and graduated with a B.S. in Geography from the Department of Geography in May 2011. Donnovan worked on gathering and organizing modern datasets on tundra fire history and vegetation in Alaska.

Justin Ziegler, undergraduate student 2011

Justin worked in the lab in the spring and early summer of 2011, focusing on fire history and biogeochemical proxies from sediment cores from Rocky Mountain National Park. After graduating from the College of Natural Resources with a B.S. in Fire Ecology and Management in the spring of 2011, Justin started graduate school at Colorado State University, where he is pursuing a M.S. degree in fire ecology.