Meg Krawchuk
Associate Professor, Landscape Fire and Conservation Science
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2007-2011), University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. Conservation Biology (2007), University of Alberta, Edmonton




The Lab:

Graham Frank, PhD candidate | Graham grew up in Oregon and discovered his interest in ecology at Colorado College before pursuing a master’s in Forest Biology at Purdue University.  His research interests lie in how natural and anthropogenic disturbances alter the structure and function of communities, and in how this knowledge can be applied to conservation in managed forests.  Graham has previously worked on projects involving invasive plants, forest regeneration, soil properties, and forest health, and is enjoying the challenges of becoming reacquainted with Oregon’s forests after several years spent learning in other systems.  Graham’s research at Oregon State will investigate the biodiversity of early-seral plant and wildlife communities following high severity wildfire, and how much of this diversity is supported by post-harvest tree plantations. 


Jessie ThoresonJessie Thoreson, MS student | Jessie is from Seattle, WA and grew up backpacking in the North Cascades and Olympic mountains. She received her bachelor's degree in Environmental Education from Western Washington University. After graduation she worked as a research scientist assistant at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory in Seattle where she developed a fascination with fire ecology and an appreciation for the complicated human discussions that happen around fire management. At OSU, Jessie is merging her interests in science communication and fire ecology. She is working on a project focused on eco-cultural revitalization of black oak as a tribally-led project in partnership with the Karuk Department of Natural Resources and Pikyav Institute.


Sven RodneSven Rodne, MS student (co-supervised with Dr. James Johnston) | Sven is a born and raised Oregonian who grew up adventuring in many of the old burn perimeters of southwest Oregon’s forests. He further cultivated this interest in wildland fire by receiving his bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources with an option in Wildland Fire Ecology at Oregon State University. After graduating, he worked in the Oregon State University College of Forestry Tree Ring Lab. While working for the Tree Ring Lab, he developed a passion for dendropyrochronology (reconstructing fire frequency in forests through the study of tree rings) and disturbance ecology. He has worked on historical fire reconstructions in Oregon and Washington’s west cascade regions, on the East side of Mt. Hood, and in the Elliott State Research Forest. His current projects are focused on historical stand reconstructions in Oregon’s Rogue Basin and historical fire reconstructions/stand dynamics of the lower Illinois River, located in southwest Oregon.


Rachel Houtman, Senior Faculty Research Assistant | photo coming soon! | Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Earlham College and a Master of Science in Forest Resources with a minor in applied economics from Oregon. After completing her degree she worked on projects exploring optimal wildlife corridor design and valuing wildfire suppression activities over multi-decade timeframes. These projects allowed her to expand interests in programming as a tool to better understand complex interactions between disturbances and management on large landscapes. Currently she works with researchers at Oregon State University and the Forest Service to use scenario planning processes to better understand how long term planning and landscape disturbances interact at regional and national scales. She lives with her three children and parents in the Corvallis area, where they enjoy gardening, biking, hiking, and doing copious amounts of arts and crafts.


 Lab lunch December 2021




Graduate students:

Doug Turk, MS 2022 | The interaction of fire refugia and climate refugia: a case study within California's Diablo Mountain Range. Now Project Manager - Forestry at Mendocino County Resource Conservation District.

Claire Tortorelli, PhD 2022 | Drivers and impacts of a recent annual grass invasion: Ventenata dubia and fire in the Inland Northwest. Now postdoc at UC Davis.

Andrew Merschel, PhD 2021 | Historical forest succession and disturbance dynamics in Coastal Douglas-fir forests in the southwest Cascades of Oregon. Now ORISE postdoc with USFS PNW Research Station.

Anna Talucci, PhD 2019 | Beetle outbreaks and wildfires: drivers of fire severity, recruitment, and structural legacies for sub-boreal forests in British Columbia. Now postdoc at Woodwell Climate Research Center.

Will Downing, MS 2018 | Fire refugia function and composition in dry mixed-conifer forests of Oregon's Blue Mountains. Now with USFS in fire fighting operations and USFS R&D Enterprise.

Kurt Frei, MSc 2018 | Bark beetles and wildfire: Influence of overlapping disturbances on wood and light in a sub-boreal headwater system. Now Environmental Technician, Port Moody, BC.

Michael Ton, MSc 2015 | The effects of disturbance history on the taxonomic and functional composition of ground-layer plant communities. Now at Vancouver Public Library, Public Services Associate, Vancouver BC.

Philip Camp, MSc 2015 | Human-fire interactions in British Columbia: varying constraints on human-caused wildfire occurrence and geography of the wildland-development interface. Now Emergency Management Specialist, FEMA, New York.

Kimberly House (McGrenere) MSc 2014 | Bird and beetle assemblages in mountain pine beetle killed forests and those subsequently burned: evidence for an effect of compound natural disturbances in British Columbia. Now somewhere in a crag, and working at Mountain Equipment Coop, Vancouver, BC.


Undergraduate thesis students:

Sarabeth Pearce-Smith, OSU Honors College | Exotic species success in fire- and harvest-disturbed forest sites in southwest Oregon

Simone Gibson, OSU Honors College | Examining the effect of annual grass invasion on fire spread and severity: fuel modeling for Ventenata dubia

Nathan Blades, Spring 2018 BRR Program|  Reconstructing the historical fire climate relationship for the Fremont-Winema National Forests

Isabell Eischeid (joint with Wendy Palen, Biological Sciences) Spring 2012 | Damming BC: A spatial assessment of existing and proposed run of river projects in the province of British Columbia


Faculty Research Assistants/Associates/Postdocs/Visitors:

Cameron Naficy, Research Associate | now USFS R6 FHP/Regional Ecology Program.

James Johnston, Research Associate | now Assistant Professor Senior Research at OSU. 

Fermín Alcasena, USDA Forest Service International Visitor/Postdoctoral Scholar.  

Garrett Meigs, Research Associate/postdoc | now Forest Health Scientist at Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Ana Barros, Research Associate/postdoc | now Fire Risk Manager and Scientist at Washington State Department of Natural Resources. 

Marc Edwards, Faculty Research Assistant | Marc worked with us on a wide variety of projects in the lab including the Carrott Lake experimental burn project, burn severity work in Entiako Provincial Park, and analytical/conceptual support to the BEACONs project. Marc is now a spatial analyst for the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement and BEACONs. 

Ellen Whitman, Faculty Research Assistant | Ellen worked with us as a spatial analyst on the Fire Refugia Project through 2013 and 2014. Ellen is now working with the Canadian Forest Service in Edmonton, Alberta and completed her PhD at the University of Alberta in 2019.


Field research assistants and trainees:

Summer 2021 trainees and field assistants. Coming soon! 

Summer 2020 trainees and field assistants. Haley Weir, Simone Gibson

Summer 2019 crews and trainees. Kaitlyn Wright, Rya Rubenthaler, Ken Burton on the ESFB project. David Moy and Sylvan Pritchett on the Fire Refugia project. Leila Giovanonni on the Ventenata project.

Moriah Young, Summer 2018 | Claire Tortorelli's Ventenata plant communities and fire project, Oregon USA

Charles Drake, Kaitlyn Wright, Tyler Mesberg, Jasper Romero, Erana Loveless, Summer 2018 | Andrew Merschel's Umpqua fire history project, Oregon, USA

Jean McCalmont, Claire Tortorelli, Juliann VanSant, Summer 2017 | Will Downing's fire refugia project, Oregon, USA

Kirsten Calder-Sutt, NSERC USRA program, Summer 2016 | Field data collection for short-interval disturbance research in Entiako Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. 

Aaron Walchuk, Field Research volunteer, Summer 2016 | Field data collection for short-interval disturbance research in Entiako Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. 

Brian Cobb, Lab volunteer, Summer 2016 | Spatial data jockey #1 for History of Harvest project in the Pacific Northwest

Coleen Hill, Lab volunteer, Summer 2016 | Spatial data jockey #2 (!) for History of Harvest project in the Pacific Northwest

Leah Walker, NSERC Engage program, Fall 2015 Working with MSc student Phil Camp on his wildland-development interface mapping project. Data validation and programming in R using leaflet().

Jennifer Avery, USRA summer 2014 Identifying beetles from Kim's summer collecting season and dabbling with burn severity mapping.

Kathy Ma, Spring and Summer 2014 volunteer. Work study focused on dendroclimatology of lodgepole pine in central interior BC, preparing herbarium materials, "communications".

Aaron Tilston-Redican, Work Study Spring 2014. Work study identifying beetles from Kim's summer collecting season.

Amanda Schrack, Jennifer Avery, George Pietrusinski, Spring 2014 volunteers. Helping to identify beetles from Kim's summer collecting season.

Katie Goodwin, Work Study Fall 2013. Helping Michael with biomass samples from the summer field season. Thanks Katie!

Kathy Ma, Canada Summer Jobs Program 2013 Kathy worked with Michael Ton this summer, exploring the Binta Fire and all it had (or didn't have...) to offer. Particularly impressive was Kathy's ability to bake pies in the camp stove and tell endless entertaining stories. Thanks Kathy.

Stephen Ingraham, NSERC USRA summer 2013 Stephen worked with Kim House during the "long summer of 2013", cooking tastey camp meals and able-y persisting through early birding mornings, and the challenges of an industrial landscape. Thanks Stephen.

Natasha Murphy, NSERC USRA summer 2012 Natasha worked with us up at Carrott Lake. With her funky green tent and anything-goes attitude, Natasha was key in making summer 2012 a successful field season. Thanks Natasha.