Associate Research Professor, Biology
My research is about resolving complexity to elicit pattern responses through background and noise, and there are two primary scientific tracks of interest: odor detection and landscape change. Within these interests my research is almost entirely applied and is done as experimental field work. One of the greatest joys this work is resolving the challenges of integrating and fusing data from disparate sources such as digital camera data, GPS data, and behavioral response data to find and explain pattern in complexity. Below is a brief overview of my ongoing research interests within these two arenas.
Odor detection Olfaction is a powerful sense that can be used in applications where vision, hearing, or feeling (tactile response) fails. My research into detection dogs began with investigating their ability to locate federally protected Mojave desert tortoises. The resulting DTK9 Program is unique in its scientific rigor. From this work has come expertise in converting qualitative information to quantitative data and data capture methods, analytical approaches to validate capability, and training, testing and deployment protocols that are suitable for sensitive targets in extreme environments. Recent applications include different target classes for archaeology and law enforcement. As a result of this work I have also developed an interest in the behavioral science of detection. The role humans play as part of a dog team is significant and the human mindset can significantly affect a dogs and the teams capability.
Landscape Change and Human Impact -Conducting extensive field work over the past 20-plus years has been one of my primary means to explore and quantify the changing nature of the natural world – how individuals, populations, and communities of creatures interact and interface with a variable landscape. Much of my research has focused on military applications and resource management on federal lands using remote sensing, GIS, and subsequent tools designed to gather spatially explicit field data. My research on change has included training impacts, wildlife applications, water demands, urbanization, fire policy, and climate change. Field experience on military installations, managed federal lands, and in designated wilderness has brought to light a controversial but very real set of observations: there are parallels between military landscapes and wilderness. This is an area that I am now exploring further. In bridging disciplines, my hope is to better evaluate the impacts that humans have on the natural world and the processes involving or driven by these factors.
Research Areas of Interest and Expertise
- Remote sensing
- Spatial modeling and pattern analysis
- Landscape change, particularly anthropomorphic impacts
- K9 Detection
- human remains
- capability assessment
- standards and performance metrics
- Environmental management challenges on federal (esp. military) lands and wilderness
- Wildlife studies
||Forest Resources, College of Forestry
||Forest Resources, College of Forestry
||Resource Ecology, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
||Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
- Graduate Faculty Standing, Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada Reno
canine detection, detection, K9, cadaver, olfaction, remote sensing, landscape, DOD, GIS, spatial pattern
Lakebed Health and Feasibility of Use Study, including Inundation Frequency Analysis of Rogers and Rosamond Dry Lakes, Edwards Air Force Base, California, Paginated by section, DRI Publication #41279
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Defending against agroterrorism: Modeling Pathogen Dispersion Pathways, Homeland Defense & Security Information Analysis Journal, 5 (1), 23-27
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McDonald, E. V., Bullard, T. F. (Eds.) , , (2016). Comparing Playa Inundation Estimates from Landsat and LiDAR Data to a Doppler Radar-Based Hydrologic Model, In Military Geosciences and Desert Warfare: Past Lessons and Modern Challenges, Advances in Military Geosciences, 153-167, Springer: New York
Analytical Chemistry Analysis of Bat Guano: An Investigation into Species-Specific Bat Detection Via Olfaction, April 22, 2016, Final Report submitted to US Department of Interior – Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky Field Office, Frankfort, Kentucky.
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Line of Sight/Visibility Analysis for Ascension Island Radar and Wind Towers, 10 pp., Submitted to Technical Advisor Encroachment and Sustainability Senior Scientific Analyst, Department of the Air Force
Spatial patterns provide support for the stress-gradient hypothesis over a range-wide aridity gradient, Journal of Arid Environments, 102, 27-33
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Harmon, R. S.
, Baker, S. E.
, McDonald, E. V.
(Eds.) (2014). Experiencing nature in militarized landscapes: If a bomb drops in the desert, do we still call it wilderness?
, In Military Geosciences in the Twenty-First Century
, Reviews in Engineering Geology, 22, 202-215, Geological Society of America Reviews in Engineering Geology, 10.1130/2014.4122(18)
Monitoring Soil Erosion of a Burn Site in the Central Basin and Range Ecoregion: Final Report on Measurements at the Gleason Fire Site, Nevada, Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy, Report No. DOE/NV/0000939-14; Report No. DRI Publication No. 45254.
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Monitoring Soil Erosion on a Burned Site in the Mojave-Great Basin Transition Zone; Final Report for the Jacob Fire Site
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Water-Chemistry Evolution and Modeling of Radionuclide Sorption and Cation Exchange during Inundation of Frenchman Flat Playa, Desert Research Institute: Reno, NV, DOE/NA0000939-10; Desert Research Institute Publication No. 45252
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Recommended Core and Supplemental Environmental Monitoring Methods for Arid Land BP Installations, Prepared for BP International.
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Characterization of the volatile organic compounds present in the headspace of decomposing animal remains, and compared with human remains, Forensic Science International, 220, 118-125
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Field capability of dogs to locate human teeth, Journal of Forensic Sciences, 56 (4), 1018-1024
Validation and Development of a Certification Program for Using K9s to Survey Desert Tortoises., 162 p., Final Report to DOD Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, RC-200609
Cost and Performance Report: RC-200609, 91 pp., Report to DOD Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, RC-200609
Comparison of human versus wildlife detector dog investigator effects, Southwestern Naturalist, 53 (4), 472-479
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Olfaction-based detection distance: A quantitative analysis of how far away dogs detect tortoise odor and follow it to source, Sensors, 8 (4), 2208-2222
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Land-use/cover change in the Lake Tahoe Basin, California and Nevada, USA, 1940-2002, Forest Ecology and Management, 255, 3424-3439
Are wildlife detector dogs or people better at finding tortoises?, Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 3 (1), 103-115
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Uncertainty Analysis of Estimates of Ground-Water Discharge by Evapotranspiration for the BARCAS Study Area
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The Walker Basin, Nevada and California: Physical Environment, Hydrology, and Biology
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A Methodology for Mapping Shrub Canopy Cover in the Great Basin Desert Using High Spatial Resolution Satellite Imagery, DRI Report No. 41236
Desert tortoise surveys on the Precision Impact Range Area October 2006, Edwards Air Force Base, California, 22 pp., Final report to Edwards Air Force Base
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Accuracy and reliability of dogs in surveying for desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), Ecological Applications, 16 (5), 1926-1935
Groundwater Evapotranspiration in Smoke Creek Desert, Nevada, Final Report to SEMPRA Generation, DRI Report #41224
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A classification system for impervious cover in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Final report submitted to the State of Nevada Water Resources Research Institute
Protecting the threatened desert tortoise: A plan for primary survey, management and monitoring in Parashant National Monument and Grand Canyon National Park, Final Report to Grand Canyon/Parashant National Park, U.S. Department of the Interior
Efficacy and reliability of dogs for surveying desert tortoises: Results from the DT-K9 trials March 28-April 15, 2004 Desert Tortoise Conservation Center Las Vegas, NV, 57 pp., Final Report to University of Redlands, Task order# 121220-02-02A
Estimation of Impervious Cover in the Lake Tahoe Basin Using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems Data Integration, Journal of Nevada Water Resources Association, 1 (1), 58-75
Risk of attracting predators from human and human-dog team wildlife surveys, 31 pp., Final Report to Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Division, W911NF-04-1-0279
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Technical approach for designing alternative covers at Edwards Air Force Base, California., Prepared for Air Force Flight Test Center, Environmental Management Directorate, Edwards Air Force Base, California, Desert Research Institute publication No. 41192, Contract #DACA05-02-C-0009
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Detecting and discriminating impervious cover with high-resolution IKONOS data using principal component analysis and morphological operators, Int. J. Remote Sensing, 24 (23), 4627-4645
Technical Approach for Designing Alternative Covers at Edwards Air Force Base, California, DRI Report No. 41192
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Baseline and initial monitoring assessment of Martes americana, the American Marten, at Heavenly Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe, California, 87 p., Final Report to U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Population and land use change in the California Mojave: Natural habitat implications of alternative futures., Population Research and Policy Review, 22, 373-397
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Estimation of hard impervious cover in the Lake Tahoe Basin using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems, 32 pp., Final report to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
Alternative Future Scenarios: Development of a modeling information system, 115 pp., Final Report to DoD: Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, M67399-00-C-0005
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Scott, M., Heglund, P., Morrison, M., Rafael, M., Wall, B., Hoffer, J. (Eds.) , , (2002). Assessment of spatial autocorrelation in empirical models in ecologyAssessment of spatial autocorrelation in empirical models in ecology, In Predicting Species Occurrences: Issues of Accuracy and Scale, 429-440, Island Press: Washington, DC
Impacts of development in the Coachella Valley on Fringe-Toed Lizards and the related implications to Joshua Tree National Park, 46 pp., Final report to Joshua Tree National Park
Mojave Fringe-Toed Lizard surveys at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twenty-nine Palms, California and nearby lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, 115 pp., Final Report to Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Division, Report M67399-00-C-0005
Detecting Human Remains in Fatal Fires Using Cadaver Dogs, 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences: New Orleans, LA, February 13, 2017-February 18, 2017
FFDIC: Experimental Analysis of Burned Human Remains., Mountain, Desert, and Coastal Forensic Anthropologists Annual Meeting: Boulder City, NV, May 25, 2016
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Comparing historical human remains detection dog and ground penetrating radar responses in areas of possible human burials, Seventh World Archaeological Congress: Dead Sea, Jordan, January 13, 2013-January 18, 2013
Bridging SAR dogs and science ? the latest and greatest, translated, National Association of Search and Rescue. 2011 Annual Conference, June 2, 2011-June 4, 2011
Military wilderness: If a bomb drops in the desert do we still call it wilderness?, American Society of Environmental History Conference: Phoenix, AZ, April 12, 2011-April 17, 2011
Experiencing nature in militarized landscapes: If a bomb drops in the desert do we still call it wilderness?, American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting: Las Vegas, NV, March 22, 2009-March 27, 2009