What is Ecoinformatics?

We view ecoinformatics as integrating cutting-edge informatics tools (data analytics, computing, statistical analysis, and modeling) with knowledge, theory, and data from ecology, climate science, and other environmental science disciplines to address pressing environmental issues. 

The Ecological and Environmental Informatics (“Ecoinformatics”) research group at NAU employs cutting-edge computational, analytical, and modeling (“informatics”) tools to conduct research in major terrestrial biomes from the tropics to the tundra to deserts. Our ecological expertise spans physiological ecology, ecosystem ecology, forest ecology, biosphere-atmosphere interactions, disease ecology, remote sensing, and more. We augment this expertise by collaborating with other world-class research centers across NAU and other institutions.

We would love for you to join us! Learn more about our research labsfaculty and research staff, new team-science based PhD program (funded by the National Science Foundation), other graduate research and funding opportunities, and our undergraduate program.

On This Page

T3 Statement on Racism and Inequality News Living in Flagstaff

T3 Statement on Racism and Inequality

The T3 Program Advisory Committee (PAC)  recognizes that there are structural inequalities that permeate our society, and the sciences are not immune to racism. As a program supported by the National Science Foundation’s National Research Traineeship (NRT) program, the T3 program is committed to broadening participation in the sciences and to being part of the solution to these systemic problems. T3 Program Affiliates are committed to engaging in training and awareness activities that address issues of racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sciences, and the T3 PAC is discussing concrete actions we can take as a group. We will provide updates about our plans as they take shape.


Student News

Images of six students at a Zoom meeting
Our second cohort of T3 students have arrived in Flagstaff and started at NAU. Welcome, Cohort 2!



Research News


Broadening Our Impact


Return to Top

Living in Flagstaff

With more than 250 days of sunshine per year, Flagstaff provides a beautiful setting for living and learning. Outdoor opportunities in Flagstaff are unrivaled and include local hiking, running, and biking options, our very own ski resort, and easy access to the world-renowned Grand Canyon National Park and other national parks and monuments around the 4-Corners region. Flagstaff, located at an elevation of 7000 ft, is situated on the edge of the Colorado Plateau. The proximity to lower elevation deserts ensures year-round access to hiking, camping, and world-class rock climbing.

In addition to outdoor activities, there is a vibrant science and arts community in Flagstaff. Annually, the Flagstaff Festival of Science provides free science-related activities for all ages. Lowell Observatory is open to the public with programs for all ages. Arts events include summer festivals, free activities year-round in Heritage Square, art galleries, First Friday Art Walk, the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, aerial artists, and much, much more.

Northern Arizona University is an accredited postsecondary minority institutions and is committed to building a diverse community of scholars and improving opportunities for historically underrepresented students and faculty.

You can learn more about Flagstaff here.


Return to Top

What We Do

Our faculty and affiliates engage in a broad range of collaborative research projects with our academic, government, and industry partners. While most of our projects expand beyond traditional disciplinary divides, projects in this area are closely related to ecology, remote sensing, and environmental modeling.

Our Research Groups

Who We Are

Our ecoinformatics group at NAU includes 16 faculty representing a broad range of expertise from plant and ecosystem ecology to remote sensing to statistics to ecohydrology to disease ecology, among others. The faculty diversity is paralleled by our diverse group of postdoctoral researchers and research support staff (currently, over a dozen) and graduate students (16 and growing).

Faculty Postdoctoral Researchers Research Staff Graduate Students Recent Graduates & Affiliates


Jay Barber
Associate Professor
Bayesian statistics, spatial statistics, ecological and environmental applications.
Logan Berner
Assistant Research Professor
Forest ecology, carbon cycling, climate change, satellite remote sensing, geospatial modeling
Daniel Buscombe
Assistant Research Professor
Earth surface processes, coastal and hydraulic engineering, process sedimentology, geomorphology, spatial ecology, machine learning, probabilistic models. Founder of Marda Science (not accepting new graduate students).
Chris Doughty
Assistant Professor
Climate change, biodiversity loss, forest carbon cycling, remote sensing.
Scott Goetz
Ecosystem responses to environmental change, Arctic biodiversity, remote sensing.
Kevin Gurney
Climate change, biogeochemistry, ecology, energy, science policy
Deborah Huntzinger
Associate Professor
The carbon cycle, climate change, terrestrial biogeochemistry, modeling of land-atmosphere carbon dynamics, carbon footprint analysis
Patrick Jantz
Assistant Research Professor
Forest canopy structure, geoinformatics, remote sensing, sustainable development.
Yiqi Luo
Ecosystem ecology, carbon and nitrogen cycles, ecological modeling, earth system science
Nicholas McKay
Associate Professor
Paleoclimatology, data analysis, paleoclimate informatics
Joseph Mihaljevic
Assistant Professor
Ecological informatics, multi-pathogen communities, infectious diseases.
Kiona Ogle
Ecological synthesis and analysis, Bayesian applications in ecology, plant and ecosystem ecology.
Andrew Richardson
Terrestrial ecosystems, forest ecology and the carbon cycle.
Ben Ruddell
Professor, SICCS Director
Urban ecology, complex systems, networks, macroscale ecology, hydrology and water resources, information theory, data science, food-energy-water.
Richard Rushforth
Assistant Research Professor
Adaptive water management, socio-hydrology, water policy.
Kimberly Samuels-Crow
Assistant Research Professor
Stable isotope geochemistry, climate change, paleoclimate, hydroclimate, science communication and outreach  
Temuulen "Teki" Sankey
Associate Professor
Remote sensing, desert plant communities, cropland distribution and change.

Return to Top

Postdoctoral Researchers

Eric Beamesderfer
Land-atmosphere interactions, atmospheric science, boundary-layer meteorology, phenology, eddy covariance
Pawlok Dass
Carbon cycle; biogeochemistry; terrestrial biosphere; climate change; earth system science; energy; geospatial data science
Katharyn Duffy
Terrestrial biosphere-Earth system interactions; climatic change effects on phenology and land-atmosphere carbon exchange
J. Camilo Fagua
My research focuses on producing spatial models that can support biodiversity conservation at large scales in tropical ecosystems. To accomplish this, I perform spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems, spatial Read More
Adrianna Foster
Forest ecology, vegetation dynamics, disturbances, ecological modeling, climate change, remote sensing
Chris Hakkenberg
Landscape ecology, biodiversity, forest structure and dynamics, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, conservation, urbanization
Richard Massey
Remote sensing, climate change, agriculture, machine learning, high-performance computing, cloud computing architecture
Bhaskar Mitra
Carbon Cycle, Time Series Analysis, Spatial Statistics, Bayesian Analysis
Drew Peltier
Tree physiology under climate change and drought. Tree ring syntheses; ENSO and the North American Monsoon; Bayesian Hierarchical modelling; Non-structural carbohydrates; Radiocarbon; Drought legacies and memory.
Tim Rademacher
Eco-physiology of terrestrial vegetation
Geoffrey Roest
Anthropogenic carbon emissions, trace gas emissions, climate change, meteorology, air quality, oil and gas, environmental policy
Bijan Seyednasarollah
Global environmental change; Environmental data science, Hierarchical Bayesian statistics; Process- and physics-based modeling of land-atmosphere interactions; Energy transfer of terrestrial ecosystems; Eco-hydrology
Yang Song
GIS, remote sensing, environment, transportation, fossil fuel carbon
Adam Young
Postdoctoral Scientist
Fire and phenological effects on ecosystem and global carbon, water, and energy flows.

Return to Top

Research Support Staff

Patrick Burns
Research Associate, Goetz Lab
Earth observation, remote sensing, lidar, hyperspectral imaging
Jim LeMoine
Lab Manager, Richardson Lab
Biogeochemistry–specifically C, N, and Hg; Forest Ecology and Management; Soil Organic Matter Formation; Phenology

Return to Top

Graduate Students

Andrew Abraham
PhD Student
The role of animals on nutrient distribution using the Madingley model and field studies.
Adam Belmonte
PhD Student
Forest ecohydrology, soil moisture dynamics, forest & wildland restoration, UAV-borne remote sensing
Cameron Bodine
River ecology, fisheries, remote sensing, spatial ecology, machine learning
Rohan Boone
Forest Ecology, Dendroecology, Community Ecology, Drought legacy, Tree response to climate change
Abraham Cadmus
PhD Student, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
Forest tree ecophysiology, community genetics, ecohydrology, plant hydraulics, conservation and restoration.
David Failing
Plant and ecosystem memory
Iván González - Garzón
Ecohydrology, remote sensing, land use change, spatial and quantitative ecology
Xin Huang
Tree growth, bayesian statistics, ecological modeling, software engineering, high-performance computing
Jenna Keany
Biodiversity loss, animal-plant interactions, remote sensing, ecosystem ecology, climate change
Blase LaSala
Hazardous environment documentation, geoinformatics, data interface and visualization, high performance computing.
Scooter Nowak
Solve complex problems involving data manipulation and analysis. Developing software tools to increase efficiency of data usage. Aquatic Entomology, Aquatic Ecology
Kathleen Orndahl
PhD Student
Arctic vegetation ecology, climate change impacts on arctic ecosystems, UAV operations, satellite remote sensing
Emily Palmquist
PhD Student
Dryland plant ecology; riparian plant ecology; rare plants; plant genetics; Grand Canyon; river regulation.
Jeralyn Poe
Carbon cycling, land-atmosphere interactions, geospatial analysis, Arctic vulnerability
Tomos Prys-Jones
Animals transport of microbes and pathogens, impact of animal extinctions on emergent infectious disease.
Laura Puckett
Ecosystem vulnerability, forest ecology, remote sensing, climate change, ecological modeling
Colin Quinn
PhD Student
Biogeography, Remote Sensing, Environmental response to climate and human impact, landscape archaeology
Emma Reich
Plant ecophysiology, stable isotope analysis, evapotranspiration partitioning, flux tower measurements.
Paul Roman
Instrumentation development, isotopic tracing, carbon cycling within plant communities, carbon movement in the soil biome
Melissa Rose
Remote sensing, ecological modeling, conservation biology, consequences of biodiversity change
Vova Saruta
PhD Student
Bayesian statistics, emulators, process based models, terrestrial ecosystems, carbon cycle.
Aaron Teets
PhD Student and Presidential Fellow
Forest carbon dynamics, phenology, woody biomass increment, non-structural carbohydrates, eddy-covariance
Ethan Yackulic
Paleoecology, lake sediments, hyperspectral imaging, water quality, Holocene climate

Return to Top

Recent Graduates

  • Nancy Peterson (2020) MSc in Informatics
  • Jessica Guo (2019) PhD in Biological Sciences

Recent Affiliates

  • Larissa Yocom, former Ecoinformatics postdoc (Ecological Synthesis Lab), currently at Utah State University
  • Yao Liu , former Ecoinformatics postdoc (Ecological Synthesis Lab), currently at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Return to Top