Lucas Harris

Lucas Harris

Email: 
Phone: 
814-865-3433
Office Address: 
302 Walker Building
Title: 
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Unit: 
Department of Geography
Expertise: 
  • biogeography
  • fire ecology
  • forest ecology
  • climate change
  • species distributions
Faculty Advisor(s): 

Research interests: Biogeography, fire ecology, forest ecology, climate change, species distributions. I am interested in how fire, vegetation and climate interact to produce ecosystem change. My research has focused largely on the mountains of California.

Projects: My dissertation research examines past and ongoing vegetation change at a dry forest ecotone on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, California. Within areas burned in 2002-2009, I am examining patterns and drivers of post-fire tree regeneration as well as past forest change using historical aerial photography. I am also conducting an analysis of influences on fire severity across the eastern Sierra Nevada and interactions between successive fires. My Master’s thesis examined the drivers of fire severity within California’s 2013 Rim Fire.

I am also collaborating with other members of the Vegetation Dynamics Lab on several projects. One project combines remote sensing, weather modeling and geospatial datasets to examine influences on fire severity across the Klamath Mountains, California and Oregon. Another uses pre and post-fire field data as well as dendroecological techniques to reconstruct changes in carbon stocks since 1899 in an old-growth forest burned by the Rim Fire in 2013. Additional projects I am working on include an exploration of the role of competition in tree mortality in the Lake Tahoe basin and a reconstruction of water use efficiency in ponderosa pine stands in Arizona and Washington using carbon isotopes in tree rings.