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Graduate Students

Ellen Bergan
Holding an endangered Kirtland's snake at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve in southern Indiana, where I worked as a land steward for several years.

Ellen Bergan
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Grant Harley

I am a dendrochronologist with experience in applied ecology and land stewardship. My research in the Idaho Tree Ring Lab focuses on climate reconstruction and analyzing shifting climatic and ecological regimes, particularly in eastern larch-dominated peatlands. When I'm not slogging through bogs, I am working in the wildland/prescribed fire scene, illustrating environmental education content, or attempting to learn harmonica.

Eastern larch
Sampling eastern larch (Larix laricina) in a bog along the northern shore of the Michigan Upper Peninsula. This species can have a very slow growth rate as a result of the acidic, nutrient-poor bogs they commonly inhabit. Though it may not look it, this gnarly, stunted tree is hundreds of years old.
Kate Brings
Kate Brings

Kate Brings
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Jeff Hicke

Kate Brings is an ecological geographer and her primary area of interest is in climate change ecology in sub-alpine ecosystems. Kate is particularly interested in stand risk assessments of Mountain Pine Beetle outbreaks, as means to understand and project how environmental factors associated with climate change have and will impact the magnitude and extent of insect outbreaks, and their impacts on the statuses of tree stands. Kate Brings received her B.S. in Environmental Science (Earth Sciences concentration) from the University of Portland, Portland, OR.

Karen Heeter
Karen Heeter

Karen Heeter
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Grant Harley

I am a dendrochronologist with background in botany, forestry, and ecology. My work at the Idaho Tree Ring Lab primarily involves climate reconstruction, fire history, and dendroecology of southern Utah and the interior northwest. Outside of research, I am actively involved in the prescribed and wild land fire communities. 

April Kaiser
Taking a sample from a 500+ year old preserved whitebark pine stump in the Beartooth Mountains, Wyoming.

April Kaiser
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Grant Harley

I study dendrochronology (tree-ring research) specifically using wood anatomy cell measurements to reconstruct climates and ecological disturbances. This research helps us identify current climate trends in high resolutions to aid in predicting future climate changes.

Tree cellular structure
Cellular structure of a collected whitebark pine sample.
Daniel King
Excitedly preparing to dive ~3500 m aboard the HOV Alvin (pictured in the background) in order to take rock samples from the bottom of the ocean at ~13° N, mid-Atlantic ridge.

Daniel King
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Eric Mittelstaedt

I study the physical processes that shape the seafloor at and around mid-ocean ridges. Through the use of numerical modelling, my research contributes to the better understanding of tectonic and magmatic events at extensional plate boundaries, as well as planetary surface evolution.

numerical simulation
Finite-difference, numerical simulation representing faulting and subsequent hill formation with varying magmatic accommodation at a slow-spreading mid-ocean ridge. Use QR code to access model animation and further info.
Nick Koenig
Nick Koenig

Nick Koenig
Ph.D. Student
Advisor: Dr.Grant Harley

In the Idaho Tree Ring Lab, I am hoping to add a flavor of social sciences to the group by bringing together literature surrounding critical studies, botany, and dendrochronology. With this research, I am hoping to emphasize the importance of how dendrochronological research is produced. Outside of research, I enjoy getting involved in community activism, botanical education, and various outdoor activities!

Students studying tree rings
Ty Reinemann

Ty Reinemann
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Jeff Hicke

My research interest is the relationship between lodgepole pine and mountain pine beetle to better understand large scale insect outbreaks. I received a B.A. in Environmental Management and Protection at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Abhinav Shrestha
Abhinav Shrestha

Abhinav Shrestha
M.S. Student
Advisor: Dr. Hicke

Abhinav is working in the Ecological Geography Lab and his research interests include forest disturbances, climate change, remote sensing, and GIS. Current research focuses on detection and characterization of bark beetle and defoliator outbreaks using high resolution satellite imagery, image classification workflow and scripting, and GIS. These forest insect outbreaks and disturbances are common in sub-alpine ecosystems in the western United States, and monitoring and characterizing them using satellite imagery can be very useful as a forest management tool and for studies on the effects of climate change on forest ecosystems.

High-resolution satellite image of the Gospel Hump Wilderness Area
High-resolution satellite image of the Gospel Hump Wilderness Area acquired by Maxar’s WorldView-02 satellite. Red in the forested areas represent bark beetle caused tree mortality. Remote sensing techniques use this characteristic change in needle color of host trees to classify and quantify forest insect outbreak damage.
Yoram Terleth
Yoram Terleth

Yoram Terleth
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Tim Bartholomaus

I am interested in the interactions between climate, glaciers, and landscape. My research centers on glacier surges, a phenomenon where some glaciers periodically accelerate to hundredfold their normal flow speed, before suddenly slowing down again. Glacier surges are spectacular to observe and could provide us with some clues towards the dynamics of unstable ice-flow.

Spectrogram
This is a spectrogram of those subtle ground motions near Sít Kusá, my favorite surge type glacier in Alaska. The seismic power between the dotted lines gives us information on water flow below the glacier.
Richie Thaxton
Richie Thaxton

Richie Thaxton
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Grant Harley 

In 2017 I dived headfirst into the world of dendrochronology and I continue to be utterly fascinated with the stories trees can tell. Much of my research uses tree rings to understand changes in hydrology at scales ranging from annual ring widths to individual cells. My current project explores how tree rings record extreme precipitation events and can be used to reconstruct hurricane frequency in the eastern U.S. When I am not staring longingly at trees, you can find me hiking or learning to play the drums.  

Thaxton Research
Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Karen Humes

Emily is a geospatial scientist interested in GIS, remote sensing, and modeling of hydrological and agricultural systems in present and future climates. Currently, her research centers around quantifying and modeling the water-energy-food nexus in the Pacific Northwest with special focus on the Snake River Plain. Emily holds an M.S. in Geography with a concentration in physical geography and a B.S. in Geographic Information Science (meteorology cognate), both from the University of Oklahoma.

Haley Thoresen
Standing above the detachment fault associated with the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex during the 2020 summer field season.

Haley Thoresen
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Cassel

I am researching the timing of the initiation of the collapse of the Western United States Cordillera using the basin record in southwest Montana and southeast Idaho. This is important because it not only gives us insights into how mountains are built and subsequently destroyed, but how changing topography affects climate and paleodrainage patterns.

Anaconda Metamorphic Core
Measuring section in the basin adjacent to the Anaconda Metamorphic Core Complex (in the background).
Zhe Wang with reptile
Zhe Wang

Zhe Wang
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Haifeng Liao

My research interests are GIS with a focus on spatial modeling and remote sensing with a focus on digital image processing. My substantive interests include urban climate, urban forestry and land cover land use change. Currently, my research centers around urban tree canopy extraction using deep learning and quantifying the urban tree arrangement.

Zhe Wang
Zhe Wang Presenting Research on Urban Climate
Hailey Wilding
Hailey Wilding

Hailey Wilding
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Renee Love

My research focuses on correlating the surface to subsurface using geophysical logs, palynomorphs, and historic well cores deposits to identify reservoir amalgamation, sealing facies, and potential traps. Palynology will also be used to determine the thermal maturation of distinct intervals in the subsurface. By studying these Paleogene age fluvial deposits, we can better understand the petroleum potential below thick volcanic deposits around the globe.

Ian Woodruff
Ian Woodruff

Ian Woodruff
M.S. Student
Advisor: Dr. Hicke

I am interested in Forest Ecology and Climate Change. My research focus is on the relationships between forest characteristics, bark beetles, and drought. It is important to understand how climate change and disturbance will impact forests in the Western United States because they provide a plethora of benefits to local communities and the planet.

Frank Wróblewski
Shaking hands with a robonaut at the Dexterous Robotics Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Frank Wróblewski
Ph.D. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Erika Rader

I study the shapes and colors of planetary surfaces to analyze the differences between volcanic features in satellite imagery. My current research is an analogue study between Earth and Mars to map the spatial, structural, and spectral relationships of lava flows to determine how lava is represented differently depending on how it contacts water. By studying how water interacts with lava, I seek to understand how past climates of Mars and other terrestrial bodies have been preserved alongside their ability to sustain liquid water, habitability, and potential life.

THEMIS IR image of a lava flow
THEMIS IR image of a lava flow, Elysium Mons, Mars.
Chloë Weeks
Chloë with Lone Mountain behind in Big Sky, MT where we collected a sample transect in Summer 2020.

Chloë Weeks
M.S. Candidate
Advisor: Dr. Jessica Stanley

I want to know if the evolution and approach of the Yellowstone hotspot has caused uplift in the surrounding regionswithin SW Montana. To accomplish this, I am collecting samples along transects of increasing elevations and analyzing apatite grains using (U-Th-Sm)/He and 4He/3He thermochronology in order to establish age-elevation relationships and identify any signs of uplift. Studying the timing and patterns of cooling will add to our understanding of the hotspot’s influence on landscape evolution in regions outside of its main path.

apatite grain
A particularly beautiful apatite grain
  • Luke Bassler (MS)
    • Advisor: Elizabeth Cassel
  • Jennifer Rangell (MS)
    • Advisor: Thomas Williams
  • Yael Armando Deniz.Hernandez
    • Advisor: Eric Mittelstaedt
  • Carlos Montejo (PHD)
    • Advisor: Jessica Stanley
  • Ian SpendLove (MS)
    • Advisor: Renee Love
  • Abhinav Shrestha (MS)
    • Advisor: Jeff Hicke

Contact

Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192