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Faculty and Staff

Dr. Evan Larson
Associate Professor of Geography
Office: 254 Gardner Hall
Tel: 608.342.6139
Web: /geography/evan-larson

Evan is a biogeographer with interests in forest ecology, disturbance ecology, and the impacts of invasive species on native ecosystems. He has experience working in a variety of forests in the Great Lakes Region, western North America, and Sweden. Evan uses dendroecological techniques extensively in his research.

Dr. Lynnette Dornak
Assistant Professor of Geography
Office: 256 Gardner
Tel: 608.342.1680
Web: /geography/l-lynnette-dornak

Lynnette is a biogeographer with expertise in GIS, spatial analysis, species distribution, and niche modeling. Her research has taken her across North and South American, with projects examining the likely range changes of both native and non-native species in response to climate change. Lynnette uses geospatial techniques in her research, and rolls with the Dubuque Bomb Squad.

Dr. Chris Underwood
Assistant Professor of Geography
Office: 258 Gardner Hall
Tel: 608.342.7124

Chris is a biogeographer with research interests in environmental change and human-environment interactions, especially in regard to wildfire ecology. He has conducted research on a variety of ecosystems including the High Desert of the Pacific Northwest, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Bering Sea. Chris uses paleoecological research techniques extensively in his research.

Tom Wilding, M.S.
Research Associate

Tom made significant contributions to the development of the TREES Lab, first as a student, then as a post-baccalaureate research fellow, and now as a Research Associate. He has expertise in a range of tree-ring methods and has helped conduct numerous research projects during his time in the lab. Tom's completed his Master's thesis research at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona and has used tree rings in studies of past climate, invasive species impacts, and forest ecology.


Current Students

Greg Arther
Undergraduate Research Fellow

Over the summer I helped kick off the Diftless Cedars project by collecting and processing tree ring samples from around Southwestern Wisconsin. In the spring of 2017 I started working with Dr. Lynnette Dornak using GIS and Ecological Niche Modelling to predict the current and future potential distributions of Lyme disease hosts. With funding from a Pioneer Undergraduate Research Fellowship I will continue this research through the 2017–18 academic year.

Elissa Bahr
Science Educator Research Experience (SERE) Fellow

I am a Science Education major and hope to be a middle school teacher in just a few years. This past summer, I worked as a SERE Fellow on the Driftless Cedar Project. Myself and a few other students traveled to State Parks located in the Driftless Area to scout for and core Eastern Red Cedar trees. The difference in narrow and wide rings in these core samples will eventually help us learn more about the region’s climate history.

April Barr
Science Educator Research Experience (SERE) Fellow

During the summer of 2017 I worked on the Driftless Cedar Project as a SERE Fellow. In the future I would love to become a science teacher with the hopes of teaching outside the country. With the Driftless Cedar Project, I worked with 3 other students (Elissa, Greg and Tia). Together we cored trees from state parks located across Wisconsin's Driftless area. We learned about how tree ring width can be used to learn about a region's history of climate and precipitation.

Dan Brumm

Dan Brumm
Guided Research

The Tree-Ring, Earth and Environmental Sciences Laboratory first came into my life in the fall of 2016 through the People and Fire in the Great Lakes Region Geography Seminar. With an expressed interest in land management, fire and the outside, Evan Larson helped connect me with an opportunity to collaborate on an adventure of fire ecology in the beautiful Pinus resinosa woods of northern reaches of the ‘wilderness’ in Minnesota and Ontario. As a senior, I am excited to spend my last semesters with The TREES Lab learning and contemplating the implications of future land management with consideration given to long-term historical fire regimes and a century of fire suppression and exclusion.

Cal Cizauskis
Research Assistant

This summer I worked on a project that aims to reconstruct past fire and environmental histories within the Kickapoo Valley watershed. What I have been doing with this project is to analyze sediment cores taken from small lakes called oxbow lakes. These stagnant oxbow lakes allow for pollen, charcoal, and other carbon-based substances that allow for further analysis. One analysis in particular that I have been conducting this summer has been loss on ignition (LOI). The purpose of this analysis is to achieve a better understanding of the contents of the oxbow sediment cores taken. I am continuing this research through the 2017 academic year.

Adam Donaldson
TREES Lab Assistant and Undergraduate Research Fellow

I started my project working with a seminar group that collaborated with managers at the University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center (CFC) in northern Minnesota. We took tree core samples and cross-sections of dead red pines to reconstruct the fire history of the site. We presented our results to the CFC management, who in turn gave feedback which developed new research. I am building on this data set by developing a more comprehensive fire history for CFC through funding from a Lakes States Fire Science Consortium internship and Pioneer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to try and better understand the possibility of intentional burning by Ojibwe affecting the forests of CFC in the past.

Tia Federman
Research Assistant
Becca Hempe
Guided Research

Jonathan Ley
Research Assistant

This summer I produced an updated zoning map for the village of Cuba City in southwest Wisconsin. I also assisted with multiple other projects including a paleohydrology project in north-central Florida, fire history research in northern Minnesota, and the Driftless Cedars project. For the cedar project, I used GIS to create maps of the best potential cedar habitat to sample based on digital elevation models, land ownership, and historical aerial photographs, as well as helping with fieldwork. For the paleohydrology project I helped crossdate and measure tree-ring samples that created a 550-year long chronology of longleaf pine growth. My contribution to the fire history project included a week of fieldwork at the University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center and scouting other potentail fire history sites in northern Minnesota. I am focusing on the Driftless Cedar project for the 2017-18 school year.

Reese Rupert
Guided Research

Gabby Stauber
Guided Research

I am a Geography major and Environmental Science minor. My guided research is focused on determining the construction date of a wooden shed in northeastern Wisconsin. Cross sections of four species of trees were collected from timbers in the shed. I am measuring the rings of these samples and comparing them to other chronologies developed from similar species across the regoin to establish a general time frame of when they were cut and when the shed was constructed.

Past Students

We have been fortunate to work with many talented, energetic, and creative undergraduate students. The list below includes the names of each student that made substantial contributions to one or more projects.

Student Name (Projects worked on)

  • Christiane Alepuz (DUGG)
  • Sara Allen (Driftless Oaks, Updating Chronologies, Paleoecology of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Great Lakes Hemlock, Historical Structures, Ecological Impacts of Earthworms, Longleaf Pine Hydrologic Reconstruction)
  • Irina Beal (DUGG)
  • Melissa Bradley (Geomorphology)
  • Carolyn Branecky (Geomorphology)
  • Gabriel Brownell (Ecological Impacts of Invasive Earthworms, Updating Chronologies, Great Lakes Hemlock)
  • Brooke Burich (DUGG)
  • David Burney (DUGG)
  • Emily Butteris (DUGG)
  • Cody Carmody (Driftless Oaks, Driftless Charcoal)
  • Amanda Carpenter (Driftless Charcoal)
  • Eli Caywood (Geomorphology)
  • Natalia Chavez (DUGG)
  • Micah Darling (Driftless Charcoal)
  • Shane Degan (DUGG)
  • Amy Delbecq (DUGG)
  • Henry Dodge (Ecological Impacts of Invasive Earthworms)
  • Leon Fowler (Ecological Impacts of Invasive Earthworms)
  • Jessica Fenske (Geomorphology)
  • Nick Flinner (DUGG, Ecological Impacts of Invasive Earthworms, Longleaf Pine Hydrologic Reconstruction)
  • Brittany Frisch (DUGG)
  • Leonardo Gamboa (DUGG)
  • Nicole Grabos (DUGG)
  • Eric Grazia (DUGG)
  • Martha Green (Great Lakes Fire History)
  • Ben Gultch (Depth to Bedrock across Wisconsin, Updating Tree-Ring Chronologies, Devil's Lake Ap)
  • Matt Hanson (Geomorphology)
  • Nicole Hays (Geomorphology)
  • Christina Hefron (Geomorphology)
  • Josh Hess (Forest Dynamics at Arctic Treeline)
  • Kalina Hildebrandt (Redefining Wilderness in the BWCAW)
  • Daniel Hobbs (DUGG)
  • Austin Holland (Digitizing the J. William Trygg Maps, Memorial Park Environmental History)
  • Allison Hudack (Paleoecology of the Eagle Cap Wilderness)
  • Jamie Jefferson (Historical Structures of Southwest Wisconsin, Driftless Oaks)
  • Cassie Jorgenson (Forest Dynamics at Arctic Treeline)
  • Brody Knaak (Ecological Impacts of Invasive Earthworms, Forest Dynamics at Arctic Treeline)
  • Jessica Kleckner (Memorial Park Environmental History)
  • Steve LaBarge (Paleoecology of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Precipitation History of the Swedish High Coast, Updating Tree-Ring Chronologies)
  • Katherine Lidbury (Geomorphology)
  • James Markham (Updating Tree-Ring Chronologies)
  • Ben Matthys (Redefining Wilderness in the BWCAW, Great Lakes Fire History, Digitizing the J. William Trygg Maps)
  • Meaghan McGuire (Geomorphology)
  • Bethany Meskel (DUGG)
  • Ciara Miller (Driftless Charcoal)
  • Bennett Morris (Geomorphology)
  • Ray Nechvatal (DUGG)
  • Christian Neumann (DUGG)
  • Maura O’Brien (DUGG)
  • Rachel Oien (DUGG)
  • Nathan Petesh (DUGG)
  • Elizabeth Polk (Geomorphology)
  • Rebecca Puta (Geomorphology)
  • Brock Reeson (Forest Dynamics at Arctic Treeline)
  • Jacob Ruiz (DUGG)
  • Philip Schulz (Driftless Oaks, Driftless Charcoal)
  • Sarah Scott (The Role of Landscape Pattern in Forest Dynamics, Precipitation History of the Swedish High Coast)
  • Colleen Smith (Updating Tree-Ring Chronologies)
  • Brandon Soldner (Geomorphology)
  • Alison Swantez (DUGG)
  • Courtney Targos (DUGG)
  • Jill Thalacker (Geomorphology)
  • Jaime Teutschmann (Driftless Oaks)
  • Sara Timmerman (Forest Dynamics at Arctic Treeline)
  • Becky Trewartha (Forest Dynamics at Arctic Treeline)
  • Sharri Valosek (Forest Dynamics at Arctic Treeline)
  • Giselle Varrientos (Ecological Impacts of Invasive Earthworms, Updating Chronologies, Great Lakes Hemlock, Driftless Charcoal, Geomorphology)
  • Matt Weisenberget (Geomorphology)
  • Kendell Welch (Driftless Oaks, Driftless Charcoal)
  • Thomas Wilding (Redefining Wilderness in the BWCAW, Driftless Oaks, Updating Chronologies, Paleoecology of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Great Lakes Hemlock, Historical Structures, Ecological Impacts of Earthworms, The Role of Landscape Pattern in Forest Dynamics, Longleaf Pine Hydrologic Reconstruction)
  • Jody Wycech (DUGG)
  • Aaron Young (Geomorphology)