Our team at FIDEL is a blend of individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds including forestry, entomology, evolutionary ecology, population ecology, ecological modelling, remote sensing, GIS sciences, environmental sciences, and pest management.
Dr. Vivek Srivastava
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Vivek is a fresh PhD graduate from the University of British Columbia and currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Forestry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry, a master’s degree in remote sensing and GIS and a PhD in forest ecology with specialization in ecological modelling, GIS and applied machine learning. Vivek studies forest invasive species and develops spatial-temporal pest risk models to help detect and mitigate the spread of forest invasives. He specializes in geospatial modelling with a special interest in understanding the underlying mechanisms of forest pest species invasions and developing tools and techniques for assisting decision making around the management of invasive species. Vivek loves to connect with people. In his free, he enjoys photography, hiking and cooking.
Debra joined FIDEL as a PhD Student in 2018, after completing her MSc in Biology at the University of Victoria (UVic) in 2017. She also holds undergraduate degrees in Biology (BSc Honours, 2013) and Visual Arts (BFA, 2008) from UVic. Debra’s PhD research investigates an association between the alder bark beetle (Alniphagus aspericollis) and a Neonectria canker pathogen, with the objective of generating insights into the evolution of bark beetle–fungus mutualisms and their ecological impacts. Debra began studying forest insects in 2013 when she was hired as a co-op student by the Canadian Forest Service to work on mountain pine beetle and eastern spruce budworm projects, and then proceeded to design her master’s thesis in collaboration with Dr. Kathy Bleiker (CFS) and Dr. Steve Perlman (UVic).
Kate works collaboratively with FIDEL and the UBC Tree Ring Lab (Dr. Lori Daniels) on her PhD research investigating the spatial and temporal patterns of subcortical insect outbreaks (including the Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae)) after wildfire events in dry interior forests. She is particularly interested in understanding how different types of forest disturbances interact, and identifying emerging disturbance synergies as climate change continues to stress northern coniferous forests. Kate has also worked with Metro Vancouver as a UBC Sustainability Scholar, assessing management strategies for various insects and pathogens in the Vancouver watersheds. She holds a BSc (Honours) in Earth and Environmental Sciences from the University of St Andrews, Scotland.
Taylor is a MSc student who joined the FIDEL lab in the fall of 2021. Her work focuses on the coastal, hardwood-infesting bark beetle, the alder bark beetle (Alniphagus aspericollis). This work aims to shed light on various life history strategies to elucidate drivers of skewed sex ratios and unusual overwintering behaviours. Taylor grew up exploring forests and picking up bugs in the East Kootenays of BC. She started officially studying Forestry at the University of Victoria, completing an honours thesis on weevil resistance in Sitka spruce trees and two co-op work terms with the Ministry of Forests in Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, BC with her trusty sidekick Moose (pictured here). She currently holds a BSc (Honours) in Biology with a concentration in FOrest Biology from the University of Victoria.
Lucas is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia with a BSc (Honours) degree in Forest Sciences. For his undergraduate thesis, Lucas investigated the range expansion of the western balsam bark beetle (Dryocoetes confusus) using GIS and statistical modelling under the supervision of Dr. Carroll. Upon completing his degree, Lucas joined FIDEL as a research assistant. He worked with Dr. Pokorny on field testing the effects of Beauveria bassiana on mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae). He also worked with Debra Wertman and assisted her research of alder bark beetles (Alniphagus aspericollis). For his master’s thesis, Lucas aims to predict the habitat suitable for endemic mountain pine beetle persistence using stand and climatic metrics. His work will contribute to proactive beetle management through identifying susceptible forest stands across the boreal forest. In his free time, Lucas enjoys birdwatching, running, and model building (not statistical models :)).
Anna Tobiasz will be starting as an MSc student with the FIDEL lab in September 2022. Her research will be focused on modelling Coastal Douglas-fir susceptibility to Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) eruptions and the potential facilitation by abiotic and biotic stressors. She holds a BSc in Forest Ecology and Management with emphasis on the social dimensions of natural resource management from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. Anna is a Registered Professional Forester and currently works as a Planning Forester for BC Timber Sales Kootenay Lake field team in Nelson, BC.
Holden is a MF student in his second year who joined the FIDEL Lab in Fall of 2022. He is a TRANSFOR-M student through both the University of British Columbia (MF) and the University of Life Sciences and Natural Resources (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria (MSc). He is currently co-advised by Dr. Carroll (UBC) and Dr. Sigrid Netherer (Institute of Forest Entomology at BOKU) to explore disturbance regime synergies across the pacific northwest of the United States and the Province of British Columbia. His work focuses on how at broad spatial scales bark beetle outbreaks may impact subsequent wildfire extents, severities, and effects. Using Aerial Detection surveys and satellite imagery from both the U.S and B.C he hopes to better understand the linkages between morality from beetle outbreaks and subsequent fire behaviour, going back as far as the mid-20th century. He holds a BSc in Ecosystem Management & Forestry and Environmental Science from the University of California, Berkeley where he completed his undergraduate thesis on the use of novel silvicultural regimes as replacements for vegetation control methods in mixed conifer forests.
Julia is an undergraduate student entering her 4th year of the Forest Sciences program in the Faculty of Forestry. She will be primarily assisting Taylor Holt and Debra Wertman in the lab and field this summer with their research on the alder bark beetle (Alniphagus aspericollis) system. She will be writing her honours thesis on the olfactory response of alder bark beetles to Neonectria volatiles, a proposed symbiont of the Alder bark beetle found in red alder trees.
Jamie is an undergraduate student in the fourth year of his studies in the Forest Sciences program. He will be doing an honours thesis with the lab this coming year and is planning to continue his studies in entomology. Currently, he is an undergraduate research assistant working with Debra Wertman in her research investigating the novel neonectria pathogen, and its symbiosis with alder bark beetle (Alniphagus aspericollis) and with Taylor Holt, in her collection and rearing of A. aspericollis. Jamie has been interested in insects since he was a child, and he aspires to be a full-fledged entomologist one day.
Sichen is a senior in natural resources conservation. In 2021, she joined FIDEL to support Debra Wertman’s project on the alder bark beetle (Alniphagus aspericollis) networks. In early 2022, under the supervision of Professor Carroll and Debra Wertman, she completed her direct study project on the abundance and diversity of ambrosia beetles in the lower mainland of BC. She will continue to support Debra Wertman and Taylor Holt’s projects in 2022. She will also be working with Taylor Holt on a project for ambrosia beetles. Her favourite things are making various kinds of food, hunting mushrooms, and road trips.
Debra is a PhD candidate currently working for the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development as the Entomologist for the Cariboo Region. Her research focuses on the impacts of a warming environment on the life cycle duration and outbreak potential of the spruce beetle in BC.
Dr. Brad Seely received his PhD in terrestrial ecology from the department of Biology at Boston University in 1996. Following that, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow developing the FORECAST model in the Forest Ecosystem Management Simulation group with Dr. Hamish Kimmins at UBC. He is presently working as research associate in the Department of Forest Resources Management at UBC where has been involved in research to develop and test forest ecosystem management models at multiple spatial scales. His specific interests lie in exploring options for sustaining and improving the flow of ecosystem services from forest resources and evaluating the potential long-term impacts of climate change on forest health, growth and development. He has worked extensively with FIDEL to evaluate the impacts of management alternatives to mitigate the impacts of mountain pine beetle and other biogenic disturbance agents on forest resources.
Dr. Clive Welham obtained his PhD from Simon Fraser University, with a specialty in ecological modeling. Following a Killam Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Botany Department at UBC, he joined the Forest Ecosystem Modeling Group in the Faculty of Forestry, as a Research Associate. His work in FIDEL focusses on the development and application of a mountain pine beetle (MPB) population and spread model. The model, MPBSpread, has been used to evaluate the efficacy of current MPB control policies and explore alternative options. Dr. Welham is also an Adjunct Professor at Nanjing Forestry University, in China. He is a co-founder of two consulting firms, in which he holds Managing Director positions.
Dr. Jordan Burke
Dr Jordan Burke completed his BSc in Entomology (2009) and MSc in Forestry (2011) from the University of Georgia. In 2012, Jordan joined FIDEL to start his PhD. Jordan’s exuberant nature and captivating ingenuity were fundamental parts of FIDEL for the next 7 years. During his time with FIDEL as both a PhD Student and Postdoctoral Fellow, Jordan studied the effects of range expansion on the mountain pine beetle, their fungi, and their hosts in BC and Alberta. Beyond his research, Jordan was also a remarkable teacher and mentor. Jordan’s enthusiasm for forest entomology was captivating and inspiring. Within his teaching, Jordan brought his quintessential enthusiasm for forest entomology which always made his classes both engaging and inspiring.
Jordan lost his battle with cancer in July 2019. The Jordan L. Burke Memorial Award in Forestry was established in 2020 through the support of family, friends, colleagues, and the Faculty of Forestry to honour his memory and celebrate the joy he brought to our lives.
Dr. Stan Pokorny
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Stanley Pokorny is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow who joined FIDEL in 2014. His work focusses on understanding climate change-driven range expansions and the novel trophic interactions they generate using mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) as a model system. He has been appointed as a Teaching Assistant by the Faculty of Forestry 7 times for 4 different courses and has been appointed as a Sessional Lecturer 4 times, 3 times at UBC Vancouver and once at Beijing Forestry University in China. Upon completion of his thesis, he plans to continue with FIDEL as a Post-Doctoral Researcher examining the efficacy of Beauvaria bassiana as a biological control agent for mountain pine beetle.
Alex is a PhD student at the University of Washington, co-advised by Dr. Carroll and Dr. Patrick Tobin. Insects are strongly affected by climate and changes in climate because many of their physiological processes are regulated by temperature. Consequently, warming temperatures have critical ramifications to insect populations, including more frequent and/or more intense outbreaks. Using historical aerial detection survey data (1960-2018) from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Alex is attempting to quantify how the spatial and temporal dynamics of bark beetles, defoliators, and their interactions at local and regional scales have changed through time. He is also measuring how natural enemy communities influence the dynamics of two native forest insect species in Washington, Douglas-fir beetle and western spruce budworm, both of which have a propensity for outbreaks east of the Cascade Mountain Range, but not west.
Antonia completed her BSc and MPM at Simon Fraser University before beginning her PhD research with Dr. Maya Evenden (University of Alberta) and Dr. Carroll in 2016. Her current research investigates the dynamics, dispersal, and host selection by mountain pine beetle (MPB) in Canada’s boreal forest. Antonia has performed field and lab experiments to examine the attack dynamics and host choice of MPB in the novel host jack pine and evolutionarily naïve lodgepole pines in Alberta as well as dispersal capacity using computer linked flight mills.
Marcos holds a BSc in Biology with emphasis in Microbiology and Parasitology from the University of Panama and a MSc in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. He recently started his PhD at the University of British Columbia where he joined FIDEL and the Tree Ring Lab (TRL). Marcos completed his undergraduate thesis by working with foliar endophytic fungi and his master’s thesis by examining wood drying rates and wood-infesting insect dynamics in post-thinned forest stands. For his PhD, Marcos will be evaluating fuel development through time and their impact on wildfire behavior of mountain pine beetle affected stands.
Carmen holds both a BSc in Forest Sciences (Honours) and Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM) from UBC Forestry. She has worked on multiple projects within FIDEL during four work terms. She completed her undergraduate honours thesis studying the influences of novel host monoterpenes on fungal associates of the mountain pine beetle. This project was an extension of the research initiated by Dr. Jordan Burke (post-doctoral fellow) and Dr. Carroll. Carmen has also worked with Debra Wertman on her investigation into the dynamics of alder bark beetle (Alniphagus aspericollis). More recently, Carmen has extended her MGEM research project investigating the effects of road disturbance on forest insect outbreaks in collaboration with Dr. Carroll and Stan Pokorny.
Erin completed her BSc in Natural Resources Conservation majoring in Science and Management from UBC Forestry in the spring of 2020. She has worked with the lab since the summer of 2019, assisting with multiple projects. She has primarily assisted with fieldwork for the Douglas-fir beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) and alder bark beetle (Alniphagus aspericollis) projects, sampling in locations across British Columbia. She has also assisted with alder bark beetle and mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) lab studies. Erin will be starting her MSc at Trent University studying conservation physiology and ecology of freshwater fishes within the Raby Lab in January 2021.
Anthony completed his MSc thesis in 2015. He investigated the impacts of invasive mountain pine beetle populations on evolutionarily naïve lodgepole pine forests, and modeled the potential spread of epidemic populations through the boreal forest. He is now the owner/ director of LSJ Publishing Ltd, a Canadian publishing company that runs two acclaimed Forest Industry Publications, the Logging and Sawmilling Journal and TimberWest Magazine.
Marc-Antoine obtained his BSc in Forest Sciences and MSc (2018) from the University of British Columbia. His MSc research, co-supervised by Dr. Lori Daniels, examined the effects of mule deer winter range management on the three major disturbances of the interior dry forests of British Columbia: the western spruce budworm, wildfire, and the Douglas-fir beetle. While completing his BSc, Marc-Antoine was also a research assistant in FIDEL, the UBC Tree-Ring lab and Avilés Lab. Marc-Antoine is currently a PhD candidate at l’université du Québec à Chicoutimi working on reconstructing spruce budworm and wildfire events in the mixed boreal forest over the past 10,000 years under the supervision of Dr. Hubert Morin.
Wes obtained his BSc in Forest Sciences and MSc (2019) from the University of British Columbia. His MSc research, co-supervised by Dr. Lori Daniels, examined historical and contemporary disturbances by fire, western spruce budworm and Douglas-fir beetle in central interior dry forests of British Columbia.
Amberly Tai (Marciniak)
Amberly received her BSc in Forest Sciences from the University of British Columbia and then completed her MSc with FIDEL in 2015. Her research focused on climate change-driven shifts in the interactions between the western spruce budworm and Douglas-fir beetle in the dry interior forests of British Columbia. She is currently Administration and Programs Assistant at Forestry Innovation Investment.