Current Students

My interests are in forest disturbance. Under that umbrella, I am particularly interested in application and development of tools and technology for mapping and monitoring disturbance at a range of scales from plot to landscape with the goal of identifying spatial and temporal patterns and their drivers, as well as the effect on forest structure. At the lab my work includes image processing and map validation. Outside of work I enjoy playing guitar and exploring the northwest’s forests, mountains, and waterways. 

Justin Braaten

PhD Student

After 3 years as a Software Engineer in Boston, I decided that I needed to focus my programming skills on building tools to solve problems that I actually care about.  So, I became interested in how my background in Computer Science could be applied to research in Forest Science.   Now I am working with Warren Cohen to improve the TimeSync application. My graduate research will focus on combining Landsat and MODIS imagery to use plant phenology as an indicator for growth trajectories of early successional forests in disturbed stands.  Oregon attracted me because it offers everything that I need: good beer, deep snow, big mountains, and some of the best concrete skateparks in the country.  With that said, I enjoy spending my time riding BMX, snowboarding, traveling, going on adventures, and simply having outside.

Dissertation working title: Using phenology as an indicator for growth trajectories of early successional forests in disturbed stands

Kevin Briggs

Masters Student

I come from a background in environmental science and wildlife ecology with a strong desire to help protect and conserve the natural world we live in. I decided that in order to make the biggest impact on the world around me, I should take my field of interest from the species level to the landscape level. After I discovered the world of spatial ecology and GIS and how they could be used to solve ecological problems, I was hooked. I jumped head first into the world of remote sensing starting with an internship as a TimeSync interpreter with Warren Cohen in LARSE working on FIA and NAFD projects. As Warren's master’s student, my research is focused on detailed classification of wetlands disturbance and land use change in the Willamette Valley from the 1970s until now using Landsat time series imagery. In addition to loss of wetlands in the last 40 years I’m also interested in classifying and capturing how much wetland space we’ve gained through restoration projects and the functional differences between natural and restored wetlands.

In my spare time I like to hike with my pups, ride my trusty steed, freshwater canoe, bird watch, sing with my parakeets, and yell at the Starlings to get off my lawn.

Thesis working title:Using Dense Landsat Time Series Imagery to Monitor and Analyze Wetland and Land Use Change in the Willamette Valley of Oregon from 1972-2012

Kate Fickas

Masters Student

During my MS research on wildfire severity and carbon dynamics , I became fascinated with the complex interplay between insect and fire disturbances. Defoliators (spruce budworm) and bark beetles (mountain pine beetle) had caused substantial tree mortality across a landscape that subsequently burned, and it seemed very likely that these insects played an important, if not defining, role in the subsequent fire behavior and effects. Now I investigate insect-fire interactions full time at a landscape-to-regional scale. Working with Robert Kennedy and LARSE colleagues, I am mapping insect and fire activity in the Oregon Cascades with field, aerial survey, and LandTrendr satellite observations. Oregon hosts no shortage of beautiful views to photograph and dynamic forests to explore (i.e. plenty of dead trees to survey!)

Dissertation working title: Multi-scale interactions of insect and wildfire disturbance: Synthesis of field, aerial, and satellite observations across Oregon and Washington forests since 1984

Garrett Meigs
PhD Student

I earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation in 2005. My research focused on the development of a new satellite-based methodology for continental scale disturbance detection, and the influence of vegetation on the expression of maximum land surface temperature.
I am currently a PhD student. My research interests include the ecological applications of remote sensing data, spatiotemporal patterns of natural disturbance regimes and the expression of and controls over maximum land surface temperature, disturbance ecology, biodiversity, management of fire-prone forested ecosystems, and conservation of wildlands.
I enjoy hiking everywhere from local natural areas to vast Wilderness areas. I’m a huge fan of exploring roadless areas on my own two feet. I love camping with my family, playing with my son, traveling, “kickin-back,” breweries, live music, farmers markets, bike riding, wild salmon, old growth forests, wildlife tracking, and the diversity of the Pacific Northwest culture. 
David Mildrexler
PhD Student

I joined the LARSE lab in the fall of 2011 as a PhD student working with Warren Cohen after completing my masters at the University of Idaho. My M.S. research utilized lidar data in the examination of avian species richness and species specific habitat relationships in mixed conifer forests of Idaho. Prior to graduate school, my research experience focused on post-disturbance cavity nester ecology and the relationships between primary and secondary cavity users. In my PhD research, I hope to marry my interests in remotely sensed ecological variables and cavity nester ecology by mapping post-fire forest structure features important to avian cavity-nesting communities. My interests outside of work include hiking, floating rivers, fly fishing, snowboarding, playing the mandolin, and working on whatever crafty project that has my interest that week. 

Dissertation working title: The utilization of lidar and time series Landsat data in the mapping of post-fire forest structure variables for inclusion in avian cavity-nester habitat models.

Jody Vogeler
PhD Student


Warren Cohen, Director
Zhiqiang Yang, co-Director
Maureen Duane, Lab Manager
USDA Forest Service and Oregon State University
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331