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James is a bushfire scientist and forest ecologist specialising in the role fire plays in ecosystem health and forest management in Eucalyptus forests. He has expertise in forest ecology, statistical modelling, spatial analysis, and forest management. He has worked on projects covering a diverse array of topics throughout his career. These include relating wildfire dynamics and forest management in Australian forests, measuring the effects of bushfires on forest regeneration using LiDAR, modelling drivers of smoke pollution, simulating the effectiveness of prescribed burning regimes, investigating the mathematical underpinnings of tree growth models, developing allometric equations to estimate carbon stocks of North American conifers, and studying the effects of logging on small mammal populations in temperate and tropical rainforests.

James' work at CSIRO involves understanding how fire can cause vegetation changes and how this might affect the future range of different vegetation types across Australia. More specifically he plans to use computer models to predict how vegetation change will play out in response to the increasing frequency and severity of bushfires due to climate change.

James did his doctoral degree looking at fire in tall wet Eucalyptus forests. Tall wet Eucalyptus forests are one of the most complex flammable ecosystems on earth, and their flammability is poorly understood. James used a combination of field-based study and mathematical modelling to better understand fire behaviour and fuel management in these forests.

Originally from the United States, a passion for the outdoors led James to a decade of field experience conducting scientific research in forests across the world. He also pursued a keen interest in statistics through a Master’s in forest biometrics at the University of Montana. This combination of field experience and statistical fluency has led to a unique understanding of forest ecology. He hopes to apply this understanding to fire and vegetation models so that they may better reflect the complexities Australian vegetation.

Academic Qualifications

  • 2020

    Doctor of Philosophy (Biological Sciences)
    University of Tasmania

  • 2014

    Master of Science (Forestry)
    University of Montana

  • 2009

    Bachelor of Arts (Mathematics and Biology)
    Grinnell College

Current Roles

  • CERC Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Ecological Modelling and Prediction

Professional Experiences

  • Mar 2021-May 2022

    Postdoctoral Research Scientist
    University of Tasmania

  • Jun 2020-Oct 2020

    Research Assistant
    University of Tasmania

  • Jan 2019-Jul 2019

    Communications Coordinator
    Fire Centre Research Hub