, Assistant Professor and Program Director for Geography, Director of the Appalachian Geosciences Laboratory, Earth Club Faculty Advisor
- 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, meteorology and climatology, sustainability, and natural hazards.
Undergraduate Student Research Advised at LMU:
Water and air quality of fossil fuel extraction sites in the Cumberland Mountains, 2014
Student is partnering with United Mountain Defense to study the environmental quality of mined, drilled, and fracked sites in the Cumberland Mountains; almost a decade of data (e.g., dissolved oxygen, heavy metals) were used to create an interactive, GIS-based map of the sampling sites; the final map will be publicly available online
GIS mapping of visitorship at the Bell County, Kentucky, Historical Society Museum, 2013–2014
Student compiled more than a decade of data from visitor log books; these data were used to build a GIS-based visitorship map that spans the United States; the map will be enlarged for display and shared with the Museum; presented at the Blue Ridge Undergraduate Research Conference
Black, B.A., Donahue, R., Gentry, C.M., Hamilton, V.S., Savage, K., Underwood, C.A., Wils, T.H.G., and Zuercher, R. 2014. Climate variability and ecosystem response in the northeast Pacific: a case study of Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) and Pacific Ocean perch (Sebastes alutus). Forthcoming in Speer, J.H., ed. Proceedings, 24th Annual North American Dendroecological Fieldweek (NADEF), Shoshone National Forest, Cody, Wyoming, July 21–29, 2014. Will be accessible at: http://dendrolab.indstate.edu/nadef/
Horn, S.P. and Underwood, C.A. 2014. Methods for the study of soil charcoal as an indicator of fire and forest history in the Appalachian Region, U.S.A. Forthcoming in Waldrop, T.A., ed. Proceedings, Wildland Fire in the Appalachians Conference, Roanoke, VA, October 8–10, 2013. Asheville, North Carolina: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. GTR-SRS-xxx.
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
Presentations, Panels, Invited Talks:
My research has been recently presented at multiple professional conferences (e.g., Ecological Society of America, Association of American Geographers, Geological Society of America).
Panelist, Integration of research into undergraduate curricula, 2013 Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers
Invited speaker, 2013 Southern Blue Ridge Fire-Learning Network workshop