The Pyrogeography Lab at University of California, Merced, under the direction of Dr. Crystal Kolden, is recruiting multiple graduate students for Fall 2022 admission across several research projects. Students who join the PyroLab focus on understanding wildfire drivers, impacts, and mitigation strategies across the human-environment spectrum and engage with an extensive interdisciplinary team of colleagues at institutions across California and the Western US. The Pyrogeography Lab is housed in the Department of Management of Complex Systems (MCS), College of Engineering. Prospective students may seek a graduate degree either in MCS or the interdisciplinary Environmental Systems graduate program. GRE scores are not required to apply. Prospective applicants should hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, see UC Merced graduate division requirements. Applicants from marginalized populations are strongly encouraged, as are students who have some background in fire and/or land management.
UC Merced students enjoy access to nearby Yosemite National Park and the magnificent Sierra Nevada, as well as a much lower cost of living than many parts of California. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Kolden to learn more about the research area they are interested in and identify which degree program might meet their long-term goals. Please send an email indicating 1) which research area you are interested in, and 2) a CV or resume. The UC Merced application deadline is January 15, 2022.
RESEARCH AREA #1: Marginalized communities vulnerable to wildfire The PyroLab is collaborating with students and faculty from the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design and the UCLA School of Public Affairs to better understand how we can best plan for and mitigate the negative impacts of wildfire on the most vulnerable populations and marginalized communities in California. This research utilizes geospatial analysis and social science approaches.
RESEARCH AREA #2: Indigenous cultural fire and prescribed fire This highly applied research area focuses on conducting both social and ecological science to both answer key questions about Indigenous cultural fire and prescribed fire and quantify the increasing use of beneficial fire and its impacts to landscapes. The PyroLab is collaborating with CSU Chico, local tribes, land management agencies, private landowners, and other stakeholders to address overcoming barriers to increased beneficial fire.
RESEARCH AREA #3: Remote Sensing and Geospatial analysis of fire Remote sensing and geospatial analysis (e.g., GIS) are critical tools for understanding the drivers of fire and landscape patterns. The PyroLab uses geospatial tools, including UAVs, airborne, and space borne sensor data, to monitor fire impacts across landscapes and identify social and ecological drivers of and outcomes from fire.