Research Interests

I am an ecologist whose research emphasizes the influence of spatial heterogeneity on ecological processes. I use field study and simulation models to elucidate the causes and consequences of spatial pattern, and my work contributed to the new sub-discipline of landscape ecology. My research group has identified nonlinearities in spatial systems and suggested new conceptual frameworks for understanding landscape dynamics. I have studied the patterns and effects of natural disturbances, focusing especially on fire in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Our research generated new insights about how natural crown fires influence vegetation patterns, animal movements, and ecosystem processes (especially carbon and nitrogen dynamics). I have also studied how socioeconomic and environmental drivers influence land-use dynamics and how land-use, in turn, affects plants, animals and soils. Land-use partly determines habitat availability for many species, but historical land-use still influences contemporary ecosystems. Our research on animal movement and habitat use in heterogeneous landscapes has also identified important spatial determinants of population dynamics. Recently, I have been working to extend understanding of spatial heterogeneity to ecosystem processes. My diverse research projects share the common goal of understanding the reciprocal interactions between spatial patterns and ecological processes across a wide range of scales.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Secondary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences