People

Core Faculty | Affiliated Faculty | Post-Doctoral Researchers | Staff | Students

Core Faculty

Shawn Benner, Co-Director Human-Environment Systems; Professor, Department of Geosciences

208-850-9033 | | ERB 4155

Research | Publications | Website | Research Group

Shawn is interested in examining scientific problems at the interface of the disciplines of hydrology, geochemistry and biology in systems where human behavior can potentially provide solutions to environmental challenges

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Jodi Brandt, Assistant Professor

(208) 426-2935 | | ERB 4145 | MAP

Research | Publications | Teaching | Research Group

Jodi is the leader of LUL@BSU -- the Land Use Lab at Boise State University. She is a land-use scientist who studies landscape change and its drivers, and the impacts of landscape change on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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Neil Carter, Assistant Professor, College of Innovation and Design

(208) 426-2958 | | ERB 4123 | MAP

Research | Publications | Teaching | Website | Research Group

Neil is a conservation scientist interested in understanding complex feedbacks among people, wildlife, and ecosystems in order to better inform decision makers. 

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Nancy Glenn, Director of Human-Environment Systems; Professor, Department of Geosciences

(208) 426-2933 | | ERB 4153

Research | Website

Nancy is interested in dryland ecosystems and understanding how these ecosystems respond to changes in climate and disturbance.

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Vicken Hillis, Assistant Professor

415-812-6846 | | ERB 4133 | MAP

Research | Publications | Teaching | Website | Research Group

Vicken studies human behavioral and institutional change in environmental contexts, using quantitative surveys, behavioral experiments, computational modeling and social-ecological network analysis.

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Affiliated Faculty

Jesse Barber, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Research | Publications | Website

Jesse studies behavioral, evolutionary and conservation-related questions by employing bioacoustic and videographic techniques to quantify how animals process sensory input and act on the resulting information

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Lisa Brady, Professor, Department of History

208.426.4309 |

Website

Lisa studies the history of war and the environment. Her work explores how war impacts landscapes and landscapes impact war.

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Brittany Brand, Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences

Website

Brittany works to bridge the gap between science and society in the field of natural hazards and risk through research, outreach, and education

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Rebecca Castellano, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

208-426-3418 | | Riverfront Hall 213D

Website

Our research group is interested in examining stratification, sustainability, and social action in the changing agriculture and food system.

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Trevor Caughlin, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Website

Trevor is interested in seed dispersal, ecological restoration and landowner decision-making

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Marie-Anne de Graaff, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Our lab studies how changes in climate and land-use affect ecosystem processes that drive the global carbon cycle. We are especially interested in the question of how plant roots and soil microorganisms interact to affect soil carbon and nutrient dynamics.

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Kathryn Demps, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

(208) 426-4690 | | Hemingway Building 115

Research

Kathryn is interested in how knowledge and behavior interact with local ecologies and examines the conflict of interest between formal schooling and knowledge about the forest, economic pressures and marketing behavior, and group formation and cooperation.

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Kevin Feris, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Website

My research program strives to understand how microbial communities respond to anthropogenic influences on natural ecosystems, including changes in climate, presence of chronic ecosystem stressors, and emerging pollutants. 

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Lejo Flores, Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences

208-426-2903 | | ERB 4151

Research | Website | Research Group

Lejo is interested in land-atmosphere interactions, spatiotemporal organization of ecohydrologic processes, and analyses of land-atmosphere systems from a socio-ecological systems perspective.

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Jennifer Forbey, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Website

Jen's research focuses on plant-herbivore interactions employing a combination of field and laboratory approaches to understand the links between the phenology and chemistry of plant and  the behavior, physiology and population dynamics of vertebrate herbivores.

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Michail Fragkias, Associate Professor, Department of Economics

Research | Website

Michail is an applied economist and interdisciplinary social scientist working on issues of urbanization, land use and the environment

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John Gardner, Professor, Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering

Website

John's research and teaching focuses on the integration and control of energy systems

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Eric Lindquist, Professor, School of Public Service

Website

Eric’s research interests are in public policy and decision processes, agenda setting, earth systems governance

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Mojtaba Sadegh, Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering

Website

Mojtaba uses a variety of modeling and simulation tools in the field of water resource management and stakeholder engagement

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Jen Schneider, Associate Professor & Director, Department of Public Policy and Administration

208-426-2514 | | ERB 5135

Research | Publications | Research Group

Jen is interested in addressing challenges in the public communication of scientific and environmental controversies, with a particular focus on industry rhetoric and discourses of technical expertise.

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Emily Wakild, Professor, Department of History

208/426-3529 |

Website

Dr. Wakild’s research examines the origins of biodiversity as a concept and its on-the-ground applications through conservation biology, the politics of parks, and the social and ecological implications of conservation, mainly in Latin America. She specializes in the collection and analysis of social data from textual, oral, and ethnographic sources and the application of this data to past and present issues of land use and conservation.

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Pei-Lin Yu, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Website

Pei-Lin's research is in cultural heritage resources, human response to climate change, archaeology, paleoclimates, public lands law and policy, indigenous consultation, and traditional/local ecological knowledge as resiliency to climate change and other stressors.

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Post-Doctoral Researchers

Rose Graves, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

208.426.1622 |

Research | Publications

Along with a dynamic and interdisciplinary research team, I will be studying large landscape conservation, biodiversity patterns, and ecosystem services in the High Divide. I am interested in understanding complex landscape systems and in using interdisciplinary approaches to address the complex and multi-scaled challenges facing society in the 21st century. My research combines empirical data with ecological and spatial models to enhance our understanding of human-environment systems.

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Kendra Kaiser, Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Research | Website

Kendra is a watershed hydrologist interested in landscape ecology, remote sensing, and coupling of field and modeling techniques to examine social – ecological systems.

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Jillian Moroney, Post Doctoral Fellow, School of Public Service

Research | Publications

Jillian is interested in social assessment, stakeholder engagement, and working at the interface between society and the natural environment to identify issues, knowledge gaps, and potential interdisciplinary solutions to environmental issues.

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Michael J Poulos, Postdoctoral Researcher, Geosciences

My research in the conservation & coexistence group focuses on visualizing spatial data, and applying geospatial and statistical analyses to quantify patterns and explore relationships with environmental factors. Specifically, I am currently focusing on analyzing GPS tracking collar data for lions in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, and performing space-time analyses to map lion home ranges. Mapping lion habitat facilitates studying relationships with wet-dry seasonality, changes in forest cover, herbivore types and abundance, and other factors. Other research foci include studying landforms, erosion, soils, vegetation, and hydrologic processes.

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Anand Roopsind, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

I’m a forester at heart and training, with an emphasis on applied research to identify technical prescriptions and policies to improve forest management that has positive outcomes for people, biodiversity and ecosystems provided by forests.

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Cristina Soriano, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Research | Website

Cristina is focused on studying the links between ecosystems and human wellbeing. She is particularly interested in the ecosystem service valuation using multidisciplinary approaches. She uses biophysical modeling and socio-cultural assessment to integrate ecosystem services in conservation and planning, with the goal to provide to managers and practitioners useful information for guiding land management and conservation strategies. Currently, she is involved in the MILES program and especially in the PECS-WaterSES project here she compares different Social-Ecological Systems representing water-limited areas around the globe, and their relationships with ecosystem services.

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Staff

Jean Barney, Data Manager

Jean provides data management services to faculty, staff and students and coordinates data management with university and statewide partner

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Students

Clementina Arriega

Cleme is interested in research at the interface of environment and medicine, including our connection to nature, green energy, birth control, stem cells, and prostheses. She is helping design research that will examine how children's attitudes towards the environment change as they develop.

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Omar Betancourt, B.S. Student, Mechanical Engineering

Omar's research involves developing agent-based models to collect theoretical data about the management of natural resources.

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Matt Clark, MS Student, Biology

Matt examines the social dynamics that influence conservation action in the American West. This research seeks to better understand the arena in which conservation initiatives are realized and to generate a greater capacity for environmental action in the region.  

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Curtis Crandall, MS Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Student

Research

Curtis is a MS hydrologic sciences student working on urban water use in the Treasure Valley

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Hamid Dashti, PhD Candidate

Hamid is working to improve shrub parameter estimation in semi-arid ecosystems utilizing techniques such as: radiative transfer models, spectral unmixing and land cover classification, lidar-hyperspectral data fusion, individual-based modeling, and uncertainty analyses.

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Tara Easter, MS Candidate, Biological Sciences

For my thesis, I am conducting research on carnivore recovery with a focus on leopards in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. Most of this park’s megafauna was lost during an almost 20 year long civil war, and the wildlife is starting to return. Some species have returned in mass, while others, including leopard, have yet to re-establish populations in the park. We are aiming to understand: what kind of anthropogenic activities may be preventing leopards from crossing into the park from neighboring areas, and how will land management policies and local community attitudes influence carnivore recovery.

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Nayani Ilangakoon, PhD Candidate, Geosciences

Nayani is interested in finding methods to monitor and forecast changes in ecosystems caused by land use and climatic changes.    

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Udaya Jayawardhana, MSc, Research Assistant

My research examines the effects of artificial nightlight on the space use and habitat of deer and elk around the Boise area. Rapidly expanding Boise city and its suburbs keep increasing the light pollution, but its impact on wildlife in surrounding natural areas is still unknown. In my research, I am seeking to uncover the effect of artificial nightlight using geospatial and geostatistical methods, and the final results will be used to construct spatiotemporal models showing the impact of artificial nightlight on elk and deer habitats.

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Joel Johnson portrait

Joel Johnson

I'm interested in learning more about remote sensing and using databases to monitor land and water use in a variety of scales.

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Alex Killion, PhD Student, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

I am interested in how humans make decisions when confronted with conflict with large carnivores, and how those decisions affect wildlife conservation. I strive to better understand feedbacks in human-environment systems, such as how actors are influenced by policy and in return how actors are able to shape policy. My work focuses on quantifying such relationships and integrating social information with fine-scale spatiotemporal wildlife data to identify the mechanisms driving human-wildlife conflict.

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Kate Markham, PhD Student, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

Website

​My interests lie in biodiversity conservation, land-use change, and the use of remote sensing to complement conservation and ecological field work. I utilize an interdisciplinary approach in my research, drawing from the fields of ecology, geography, particularly remote sensing, and anthropology. For my dissertation, I am investigating how wildlife in the conterminous US are affected by widespread anthropogenic nightlight and noise. This research is funded through NASA and is in partnership with the National Parks Service.

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Laura McSherry, Undergraduate Researcher

Research | Publications

My goal is to solve environmental problems caused by urbanization, farming, mining, or industry. Also, to find opportunities that will enhance my practical knowledge and promote interactions with different environmental professionals.

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Jenna Narducci, MS Student, Geosciences

Research | Publications | Website

My aim is to assist land managers and urban planners in decision-making by better understanding social preferences for environmental benefits, and how those preferences may be impacted by projected land use change.

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Julie Ramirez, B.S. Student, Research Assistant

My research is focused on the idea of coexistence between humans and wildlife on shared landscapes. I aim to understand how humans and wildlife adapt to each other, as well as, what methods are best to achieve coexistence. I am also assisting in a night light project that aims at understanding anthropogenic light impacts on elk and deer populations in the Boise Foothills area.

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Abigail Sage, MSc Student, Biology

For my thesis, I will be integrating social data into ecological suitability maps for a high conflict species, the grizzly bear, in the High Divide region of Idaho and Montana. Since the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) population was recently delisted, the attitudes and behaviors of landowners in this region will be a major factor in establishing connectivity between the GYE and the still threatened Northern Continental Divide population. I am also interested in applying discrete choice sampling in social surveys to predict landowners’ behaviors and assess their preferred carnivore management policies that will promote coexistence.

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Matt Unitis, MS Student, Biological Sciences

Research

Matt is interested in discovering new methods to map and determine current and future extents of invasive and native wetland plant communities, and their applications to the many stakeholders in the St. Mary’s River.

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