(530) 902-8135

Dept of Plant Sciences - PES 2227, U.C. Davis - One Shields Ave. Davis, CA 95616


The UC Davis Malcolm North Lab is an interdisciplanary group consisting of undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. All members share an interest in the ecology of forests in western North America but specialties cover a broad range of topics and use an equally broad suite of methods including common stand exams, genetics, physiology, dendrochronolgy, and GIS. Occasionally, we even dabble in critters that move!


Principal Investigator


Malcolm North CroppedMalcolm North


My general research interests are stand dynamics, disturbance regimes, and ecosystem processes of western coniferous forests. In particular I’ve focused on understanding how disturbance alters forest structure producing changes that propagate through the ecosystems’ processes, food webs and species diversity.







Current UC Davis Students



Jan Ng (Doctoral)



My research interests stem from work in New England, Southeast Asian, Pacific Northwest, and Sierra Nevada forests. I have developed a fascination with the functional roles of coarse woody debris across systems with varying disturbance regimes, as well as with the patterns and drivers of tree spatial distributions. I am also interested in forest management strategies, and how cultural perceptions of nature influence the ways in which we interact with it. Currently, I am focusing on forest systems in the western United States, namely the Gifford Pinchot in western Washington and the Yosemite area in California.


Paige Kouba (Doctoral)



The goal of my research is to better understand how climate influences temperate forests, and vice versa. My current projects will use dendrochronology and stable isotope analysis, along with remote sensing and eddy covariance data, to examine the effects of drought and CO2 on Western mixed conifer species. When I’m not in the lab or in the field, I am part of the editing and design teams for the Aggie Brickyard, the literary magazine of the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology.




Current Post-docs


Brian Smithers
email: brian.smithers@montana.edu
website: briansmithers.net


Curriculum vitae


My research focuses on the mechanisms of plant species range shifts in response to warming in western forest and alpine systems. I use community ecological and physiological methods to study how species interactions affect how plant species expand and contract their ranges in response to changing climate regimes. My work has focused largely on dry Great Basin treelines where I study treeline advancement limitations in Great Basin bristlecone pine and limber pine. My post-doc work focuses on ecological responses to fire in the Sierra Nevada. I am also the co-Director of GLORIA Great Basin, a nonprofit organization that uses citizen scientists to collect long-term monitoring data on peaks throughout the Great Basin as part of the international GLORIA alpine monitoring protocol. I am currently housed at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT where I am an Assistant Research Professor.


Mike Koontz.  2019.  PhD and Post-doc (shared with Earth Sciences Lab at C.U. Boulder).  University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology. Thesis:  The effect of forest structure on yellow pine/mixed-conifer resilience to wildfire and bark beetle disturbance in the Sierra Nevada, California.

Website: https://michaeljkoontz.weebly.com/







Hannah Fertel (Masters)  


Current position: Research assistant in Scott Stephens lab at UC Berkeley.



Maxwell Odland (Masters)

Current Position: Forest Health Program Manager at California Association of Resource Conservation Districts




Zack Steel

email: zlsteel@ucdavis.edu
website: zack-steel.com

Current Position: Post-doc researcher in Scott Stephens Lab at U.C. Berkeley





Jens Stevens. 2015-2016. Post-doc. Studied the effects of canopy disturbance on beta diversity and the consequences of forest fuel management on forest hydrology.

Current Position:


National Program Lead, Wildland Fire and Fuels Research, USDA Forest Service, Washington, D.C.





Gabrielle Bohlmann. 2015. MS. University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology. Thesis: “Shrub removal in reforested post-fire areas increases plant species richness.”


Present Position: USFS Region 5, Ecology Program.




Tom Rambo.  2010. PhD.

Arboreal Microclimate and Epiphyte Community Studies in the Teakettle Experimental Forest

2010-2014. Post-doc





Mason_croppedMason Earles. 2015. PhD. University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology. Thesis: “Forest carbon and water transport dynamics from physiological to global scales.”

Present Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis. Website: Viticulture and Enology 






Image result for leland tarnay

Lee Tarnay. 2014-2016.  Post-doc.  Air quality and smoke dispersion modeling.

Present Position: Researcher USFS Region 5 Remote Sensing.








Esther with frog in cloud forest

Esther Cole. 2014. Ph.D. University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology. Thesis: “Population dynamics of amphibian species in tropical and temperate latitudes.”


Present Position: Conservation Program Assistant Manager, Land Use and Environmental Planning, Stanford University, CA.




Jamie Photo

Jamie Lydersen. 2011. M.S. University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology. Thesis: “Topographic variation in active-fire forest structure under current climate conditions.”


Present Position: Research Scientist, Fire and Resource Assessment, CalFire, 1300 U Str., Sacramento, CA 95818





Kip van de Water. 2011. M.S. University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology. Thesis: “Fire regimes, stand structure, fuel loads, and fire behavior in riparian and upland forests.”


Present Position: Fire Planner on the Klamath National Forest.








Matthew Hurteau.  2007.  Ph.D.  University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology. Dissertation:  “The effects of climate change and nitrogen deposition on the Sierran mixed-conifer understory plant community.”


Present Position:  Associate Professor, University of New Mexico.








Becky Wayman in field

Rebecca Wayman.  2005.  M.S. University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology.  Thesis:  “Initial response of a Sierran mixed-conifer understory community to burning and thinning restoration treatments.”


Present Position:  Research Scientist, Dept. of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Davis.








Marc Meyer.  2004-2006.  Post-doc.  Worked on small mammals, truffles and forest structure associations in Sierran mixed-conifer forests.


Present position: Province Ecologist, Southern Sierra Nevada, USFS.






Brian Oakley.  2003. Ph.D. College of Forest Resources.  University of Washington.  Dissertation:  “An investigation into the ecology and biogeography of the Ceanothus-Frankia symbiosis.”


Present Position: Associate Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University, Pomona, CA.









Agneta Plamboeck. 2002-2004.  Post-doc.  Worked on mycorrhizal networks in Sierran mixed-conifer forests.  University of California, Berkeley.


Present Position: Project Leader, European CBNRE Centre, Umea University









Seth Bigelow.  2001-2005.  Post-doc.  Worked on tree regeneration dynamics in Sierran mixed-conifer forests.


Present Position: Research Scientist, W. Jones Center for Ecological Research.








Rob Fiegener.  2002. M.S. University of California, Davis, Graduate Group in Ecology.  Thesis: “The influence of sampling intensity on the fire history of the Teakettle Experimental Forest, Sierra Nevada, California:  Small fire detection, the composite fire chronology, and fire interval calculation.”


Present position: Program Director for Native Seed Network, Institute for Applied Ecology, Corvallis, OR.




Betsy Lyons.  1998.  M.S. Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA.  Thesis:  “Crown structure and spatial distribution of epiphytes on western hemlock, Wind River, WA.”


Present Position:  Senior Capital Projects Coordinator, Seattle Public Utilities.





Key words: University of California, Davis, UC Davis, Malcolm North Lab, Forest ecology, Fire ecology