Biosketches of the Pyropeople

(Alphabetically by last name.)

Paulo Artaxo

Paulo Artaxo earned his Ph.D. and Livre Docência in Physics at the University of São Paulo. He currently coordinates the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics of the Institute of Physics of USP. His work focuses in the area of environmental studies in the Amazon, Antarctica and in urban areas of Brazil. He is one of the coordinators of the LBA Experiment (Large scale experiment of the Biosphere and Atmosphere of the Amazon), which studies, in an integrated manner, the operation of the Amazon's ecosystem. He has conducted research on the Amazon since 1979, having participated in the ABLE, SCAR-B, SMOCC, FIRE, LBA, and many other experiments that have studied the role of the Amazon in the regional and global climate. The role of aerosol particles in the radioactive balance and in the mechanisms of cloud formation is also an important focus of Prof. Artaxo's work. In addition, he studies methods and procedures for the quantitative identification of sources of atmospheric pollutants, as well as the transport and deposition of atmospheric aerosols. (See more here...)

Jennifer Balch

Jennifer Balch is finishing her Ph.D. at Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. For her dissertation research, she is exploring the effects of recurrent fire on transitional forest dynamics in the Amazon's wildfire frontier in Mato Grosso, Brazil (see more on her research at this link). She has conducted research in the field of tropical ecology for a decade. She studied neotropical bat ear morphology while completing her undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Recently, she published work on landscape metrics for red-listing threatened ecosystems based on research during a Fulbright fellowship in Venezuela. In the fall, she will be starting a Postdoctoral fellowship at NCEAS investigating the predictors of fire frequency across global ecosystems.

William Bond

William Bond is a Professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His key research interests include: i) processes most strongly influencing vegetation change in the past and present, including fire, vertebrate herbivory, climate extremes, atmospheric CO2 and habitat fragmentation, ii) plant-animal mutualisms, and iii) plant form and function. His study systems include sub-tropical grasslands, savannas and winter rainfall shrublands. (See more here...)

David Bowman

Is a Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of Tasmania (see David's web link). He has been fixated on the subject of fire all his working life, having been influenced as an undergraduate by the Tasmania ecologist W.D. Jackson who wrote one of the most insightful papers about the role of fire in molding landscape vegetation papers. After completing a PhD in Tasmania on forest ecology in 1984, he lived in Darwin in the monsoon tropics for 22 years working as a ecologist doing full-time research that focused on fire and vegetation patterns including the effect of Aboriginal landscape burning. Darwin is one of the most flammable place on Earth. He is now back in Tasmania thinking about fire and the effects of global climate change.

Mark A. Cochrane

Is a Professor at the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University (see Mark's web link). His research focuses on understanding spatial patterns, interactions and synergisms between multiple physical and biological factors that affect ecosystems. He has conducted extensive research on fire dynamics in the Amazon. Recent work has emphasized human dimensions of land-cover change and the potential for sustainable development. Ongoing research projects aim to understand disturbance regime changes resulting from various forms of forest degradation, including fire, fragmentation and logging and management (fuels treatments) in Brazil and the United States. Dr. Cochrane’s interdisciplinary work combines ecology, remote sensing and other fields of study to provide a landscape perspective of dynamic processes involved in land-cover change.

Ruth DeFries

Ruth DeFries is a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park with joint appointments in the Department of Geography and the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. Her research investigates the relationships between human activities, the land surface, and the biophysical and biogeochemical processes that regulate the Earth's habitability. She is interested in observing land cover and land use change at regional and global scales with remotely sensed data and exploring the implications for ecological services such as climate regulation, the carbon cycle, and biodiversity. Dr. DeFries obtained a Ph.D. in 1980 from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor's degree in 1976 from Washington University with a major in earth science. Previously, Dr. DeFries worked at the National Research Council with the Committee on Global Change and taught at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. She is a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and recent recipient of the MacArthur Award.

Fay Johnston

Dr. Fay Johnston is a general physician and public health specialist who has recently submitted a PhD in environmental epidemiology. She has extensive experience working at the interface of primary health care, public health and health research. Her main research interests lie in the trans-disciplinary area of human health and ecological sustainability, particularly in the context of global environmental change. Recent competitively funded projects have included (i) an examination of the relationships between landscape fire and health, particularly the public health impacts of bushfire smoke, (ii) exploring the nexus between the activities of land management (caring for country) by Aboriginal Australians and the effect on both human health and ecological outcomes (iii) examining the cross-cultural relevance of psychometric screening tools in the assessment of Indigenous mental health and (iv) the role of adult well person screening programs in remote Indigenous communities.

Jon Keeley

Dr. Keeley earned his Ph.D. in botany and ecology from the University of Georgia in 1977. He also holds a Master’s degree in biology from San Diego State University. He is currently a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, stationed at Sequoia National Park. Prior to this appointment he served 1 year in Washington, D.C. as director of the ecology program for the National Science Foundation. He was professor of biology at Occidental College for 20 years and spent a sabbatical year at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has over 175 publications in national and international scientific journals and books. His research has focused on ecological impacts of wildfires as well as other aspects of plant ecology, including rare plants, rare habitats such as vernal pools, and plant physiology. In 1985 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Fellow of the Southern California Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the California Botanical Society. He has served on the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning Environmental Review Board, the State of California Natural Communities Conservation Program (NCCP) Board of Scientific Advisors. (See more at USGS-WERC and UCLA links...)

Meg Krawchuk

Meg Krawchuk is a NSERC post-doctoral fellow working with Max Moritz at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, her post-doctoral work was supported by The Nature Conservancy’s Global Fire Initiative. Meg is studying broad scaled (global & continental) patterns of fire activity, using environmental data to describe and understand where and why we see the patterns of fire we currently observe, and how macro-scaled models of this relationship can help us to conceive of potential, future changes in the global distribution of fire. Meg is an ecological generalist, in addition to her work on fire she has dabbled in studies of insects, herpetiles, mammals, and birds. Meg completed her education in Canada, with a B.Sc. in Zoology at the University of Guelph, a M.Sc. in Conservation Ecology at Acadia University, and a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology at the University of Alberta.

Christian Kull

Christian A. Kull is a geographer who researches social aspects of environmental change, especially the politics around landscape transforming processes like fire or introduced plants. His book, Isle of Fire: the Political Ecology of Landscape Burning in Madagascar (Chicago, 2004) investigates a century-long conflict between government agents and rural farmers over fire use; his current work focuses on transfers of non-native acacias around the Indian Ocean. Kull was educated in the United States, taught for three years at McGill University in Canada, and is since 2003 at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. (See more here...)

Max Moritz

Max Moritz got his PhD in a joint Geography/Ecology program (Spatial Ecology) at UCSB. His interests are in fire ecology and management, landscape vegetation dynamics, biogeography, and natural disturbances in general. While much of his past research has focused on quantifying tradeoffs between the influence of fuels versus weather in long-term fire patterns, recent work is on issues related to fire and climate change. He is currently adjunct faculty in the Environmental Science, Policy, & Management Department at UC Berkeley, as well as the UC Cooperative Extension Specialist in wildfire for the state of California. (See more here...)

Colin Prentice

Colin Prentice is a Professor of Earth System Science at the University of Bristol and Leader of the QUEST programme. He is a plant ecologist and palaeoecologist with research ranging over multivariate data analysis, pollen dispersal modelling, vegetation dynamics (including forest succession modelling), palaeoenvironment reconstruction and analysis, and most recently global biosphere modelling, biosphere-atmosphere interactions and the global carbon cycle. (See more here...)

Andrew Scott

Andrew C. Scott obtained his B.Sc in Geology at Bedford College, University of London in 1973. He obtained his Ph.D. under Professor W.G.Chaloner FRS at Birkbeck College, University of London, for his studies on the ecology of Upper Carboniferous vegetation. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at Trinity College Dublin, he was appointed as lecturer in Geology at Chelsea College, University of London in 1978. This department mearged with others in 1985 to form the department at Royal Holloway University of London, where he was appointed to a personal chair in Applied Palaeobotany in 1996. He also holds an honorary Professorship at Jilin University, China and was a visiting Professor at Yale University 2006-2007 and is currently a research affiliate there and at the Universities of Southern Illinois, Kentucky and Illinois (at Chicago). (See more here...)

Tom Swetnam

Is a Professor of Dendrochronology at the University of Arizona. He holds joint academic appointments in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Geography & Regional Development, and the School of Natural Resources. Since 2000 he has served as Director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, the world’s premiere and largest institute (about 50 professors, staff, and students) focused on all aspects and applications of tree-ring research and teaching. Tom is the son of a forest ranger and he grew up in rural, northern New Mexico. He worked as a wildland fire fighter with the US Forest Service and National Park Service before attending graduate school at the University of Arizona, completing his PhD in Watershed Management in 1987. His research over the past 28 years has centered on the histories of fire and insect outbreak dynamics in forest ecosystems in the context of climate variability and human land use history. Most of this work has been in the western US, but also in northern Mexico, Siberia, and Argentina. His full cv and links to publications, essays, congressional testimonies, etc. can be found here.

Guido van der Werf

Guido van der Werf is a postdoctoral researcher at the VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His PhD (2006) was carried out for a large part at NASA Goddard working with Jim Randerson and Jim Collatz, aiming to quantify fire emissions on global scales. This was done based on satellite-derived information on fire activity and biogeochemical modeling, and led to the global fire emissions database which is frequently used to better understand the role of fires in atmospheric composition and chemistry. Besides quantifying emissions, Guido is also interested in the role of fire in the deforestation process, and in better understanding the role of climate in explaining spatial and temporal patterns in fire activity (See more here...)