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”) 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.

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. 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.

You can learn more about Flagstaff here.

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


Jay Barber
Associate Professor
Research interests: Bayesian statistics, spatial statistics, ecological and environmental applications.
Daniel Buscombe
Assistant Research Professor
Research Interests: Earth surface processes, coastal and hydraulic engineering, process sedimentology, geomorphology, spatial ecology, machine learning, probabilistic models
Chris Doughty
Assistant Professor
Research interests: Climate change, biodiversity loss, forest carbon cycling, remote sensing.
Scott Goetz
Research interests: Ecosystem responses to environmental change, Arctic biodiversity, remote sensing.
Kevin Gurney
Research Interests: Climate change, biogeochemistry, ecology, energy, science policy
Deborah Huntzinger
Associate Professor
Research Interests: the carbon cycle, climate change, terrestrial biogeochemistry, modeling of land-atmosphere carbon dynamics, carbon footprint analysis
Patrick Jantz
Assistant Research Professor
Research interests: Forest canopy structure, geoinformatics, remote sensing, sustainable development.
Yiqi Luo
Research Interests: Ecosystem ecology, carbon and nitrogen cycles, ecological modeling, earth system science
Nicholas McKay
Assistant Professor
Research interests: Paleoclimatology, data analysis, paleoclimate informatics
Joseph Mihaljevic
Assistant Professor
Research interests: Ecological informatics, multi-pathogen communities, infectious diseases.
Kiona Ogle
Research interests: Ecological synthesis and analysis, bayesian applications in ecology, plant and ecosystem ecology.
Andrew Richardson
Research interests: Terrestrial ecosystems, forest ecology and the carbon cycle.
Ben Ruddell
Associate Professor
Research interests:  Urban ecology, complex systems, networks, macroscale ecology, hydrology and water resources, information theory, data science, food-energy-water.
Richard Rushforth
Assistant Research Professor
Research interests: Adaptive water management, socio-hydrology, water policy.
Kimberly Samuels-Crow
Assistant Research Professor
Research Interests: Stable isotope geochemistry, climate change, paleoclimate, hydroclimate, science communication and outreach  
Temuulen “Teki” Sankey
Assistant Professor
Research interests: Remote sensing, desert plant communities, cropland distribution and change.


Logan Berner
Research Interests: Forest ecology, carbon cycling, climate change, satellite remote sensing, geospatial modeling
Katharyn Duffy
Postdoctoral Scientist
Research interests: terrestrial biosphere-Earth system interactions; climatic change effects on phenology and land-atmosphere carbon exchange
Adrianna Foster
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Research Interests: Forest ecology, vegetation dynamics, disturbances, ecological modeling, climate change, remote sensing
Richard Massey
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Research Interests: Remote sensing, climate change, agriculture, machine learning, high-performance computing, cloud computing architecture
Drew Peltier
Postdoctoral Scientist
Research Interests: 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
Postdoctoral Scientist
Research Interests: Eco-physiology of terrestrial vegetation
Bijan Seyednasarollah
Postdoctoral Scientist
Research interests: 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
Adam Young
Postdoctoral Scientist
Research Interests: Fire and phenological effects on ecosystem and global carbon, water, and energy flows.

Research Staff

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

Graduate Students

Andrew Abraham
PhD Student
Research Interests: The role of animals on nutrient distribution using the madingley model and field studies.
Adam Belmonte
PhD Student
Research Interests: forest ecohydrology, soil moisture dynamics, forest & wildland restoration, UAV-borne remote sensing
Abraham Cadmus
PhD Student, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
Research interest: Forest tree ecophysiology, community genetics, ecohydrology, plant hydraulics, conservation and restoration.
Jessica Guo
PhD Student
Research Interests:  plant ecophysiology; water potential; stomatal dynamics; non-structural carbohydrates; desert shrubs; hierarchical Bayesian modeling
Kathleen Orndahl
PhD Student
Research Interests: Arctic vegetation ecology, climate change impacts on arctic ecosystems, UAV operations, satellite remote sensing
Emily Palmquist
PhD Student
Research Interests: dryland plant ecology; riparian plant ecology; rare plants; plant genetics; Grand Canyon; river regulation.
Nancy Peterson
PhD Student
Research Interests: forest ecology, species modeling, remote sensing, conservation biology
Tomos Prys-Jones
Research Interests: Animals transport of microbes and pathogens, impact of animal extinctions on emergent infectious disease.
Colin Quinn
PhD Student
Research interest: Biogeography, Remote Sensing, Environmental response to climate and human impact, landscape archaeology
Volodymyr Saruta
PhD Student
Research interests: Bayesian statistics, emulators, process based models, terrestrial ecosystems, carbon cycle.
Aaron Teets
PhD Student and Presidential Fellow
Research Interests: Forest carbon dynamics, phenology, woody biomass increment, non-structural carbohydrates, eddy-covariance