PhD, Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Dissertation: Fire and forest history from soil charcoal in yellow pine and mixed hardwood-pine forests in the southern Appalachian Mountains, U.S.A.
MS, Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Thesis: Century-scale trends in climatic variability for the Pacific Northwest from western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook. ssp. occidentalis) tree-ring data
BS, Environmental Health (Chemistry minor), East Tennessee State University
Research and Teaching Areas
I am a biogeographer with research interests in forest and disturbance ecology (primarily forest fires) and environmental change during the Holocene—the present geological epoch that began ca. 11,700 years ago. I use natural proxies, such as tree rings and soil charcoal, to explore past environmental change in order to provide knowledge that can better prepare humans to predict, lessen the impacts of, or adapt to future global change.
One of the best parts of my job is that this type of research is often conducted in some of the most beautiful places in the world. I have worked on projects based in the mountains and high-elevation desert of the Pacific Northwest, the Appalachian Mountains, the bayous of Louisiana, and arctic Sweden. My research has always provided opportunities for student collaboration, and I invite you to inquire about current projects in which you could participate.
My teaching interests include introductory geography, physical geography, environmental geography, biogeography, weather and climate, Appalachian geography, and natural hazards.
- Co-principle investigator for a recently funded research project ($170,000 from the United States Geological Survey) that will use tree rings from centuries-old oak trees to establish the long-term range of variability in drought conditions for the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin
During the past ten years, I have participated in the dendroarchaeological dating of some of the oldest log structures in Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, including the cabin at President Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historic Site.
Recent publication on carnivorous plant research: Horner, J.D., Cross Steele, J., Underwood, C.A., and Lingamfelter, D. 2012. Age-related changes in characteristics and prey capture in seasonal cohorts of Sarracenia alata pitchers. The American Midland Naturalist 167: 13–27
My research has been recently presented at multiple professional conferences (e.g., Ecological Society of America, Association of American Geographers, Geological Society of America).
Fall 2013: Member of a panel that will discuss the integration of research into undergraduate curricula, Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers
Spring 2013: Invited speaker at the Southern Blue Ridge Fire-Learning Network workshop