Naomi Tague

Naomi Tague is a professor of hydrology at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Her research is focused on the interactions between hydrology and ecosystem processes and, specifically, how eco-hydrologic systems are altered by changes in land use and climate. Much of her work involves developing and using spatial simulation models to integrate data from multiple field-based monitoring studies in order to generalize results to larger watersheds. Reflecting that emphasis, she is one of the principal developers of the Regional Hydro-Ecologic Simulation System (RHESSys), an integrated model of spatially distributed carbon, water, and nitrogen cycling. RHESSys is designed to provide science-based information about spatial patterns of ecosystem health and vulnerability in terms of water quantity and quality. Professor Tague is currently modeling the impacts of climate change on stream-flow patterns in the western United States and examining how urbanization alters drainage patterns and associated biogeochemical cycling in watersheds in Baltimore, Maryland, and Southern California. In addition to a Ph.D. in Geography and an M.S. in Geography from the University of Toronto in Canada, she holds a B.Eng. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada. The Tague Team Lab

Andrew Plantinga


Andrew Plantinga is a professor of Natural Resource Economics and Policy at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. His research focuses on the economics of land use, climate change, and forests. Particular emphasis is given to the development of methods for econometrically modeling land-use decisions, the analysis of environmental policies that affect private land-use decisions, and the modeling of land development pressures. A current project, funded by the National Science Foundation, involves the development of econometric land-use models to support an integrated analysis of climate change and water scarcity in the Willamette Basin of Oregon. Additional work examines how urban growth controls affect property values and urbanization rates. In addition to a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Berkeley, he holds an M.S. in Forestry from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. in English, from Grinnell College.

Sarah Anderson


Sarah Anderson is an Associate Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara who studies how the public and politics influences policy. She has three main research agendas: 1) the role of political parties in influencing policy outcomes; 2) the effect of bureaucratic delegation on policy implementation; and 3) the mobilization of the public for environmental action. Her current research focuses on how the public drives agencies’ wildfire prevention and why legislators reject compromise. Those interests are reflected in her experience in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a U.S. congressman’s legislative assistant and also researched legislation to brief members of the House National Parks and Public Lands Subcommittee. In addition to a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University, she holds an M.S. in Economics from Stanford University and a B.S. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Website

Max Moritz

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 7.12.48 PM

Max is an adjunct professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a statewide wildfire specialist within UC Cooperative Extension. Much of his research is focused on understanding the dynamics of fire regimes at relatively broad scales and applying this information to planning and management of fire-prone landscapes. He has used a number of different spatial approaches to quantitative analyses of fire history patterns, stemming from his early work on chaparral shrublands in the Santa Barbara region. Website

Maureen Kennedy


Maureen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington Tacoma, Division of Sciences and Mathematics in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. Her research and teaching focus on developing innovative tools that improve the role of ecological models in theory development and environmental decision-making, and in the education of science students and early-career scientists in the practice of scientific research and quantitative scientific methods. Her current projects include the development of a new simulation model of fire spread called WMFire (Western Mountain Fire) that utilizes probability structures to predict likely paths of fire spread and the aggregation of multiple sources of empirical fuel loading data to estimate distributions of fuel loading for various vegetation types and using those estimates to quantify uncertainty in fuel loading associated with fuel maps. She is also investigating how uncertainty in fuel loading estimates propagate to uncertainty in model-based predictions of emissions. Her team is exploring the application of spatially explicit models to improve assessment of fuel treatment efficacy based on measured and remotely-sensed data. A larger theme in her research is evaluating the use of Pareto optimality for informative multi-criteria decision-making in fuels and fire management through the FUELSOLVE project, which provides a method by which decision-makers can understand the tradeoffs between ecological considerations such as wildlife habitat quality and reducing fire hazard. Website

Ryan Bart

bart_headshotRyan’s research examines the linkages and feedbacks between hydrology, vegetation and disturbance with a focus on how these linkages vary under different climate regimes and management practices. He is particularly interested in understanding how wildfire and forest mortality lead to changes in forest composition/structure and the implication of these changes on water resources. His work involves examining complex coupled-systems using sophisticated (and some not so sophisticated) mechanistic and statistical models, as well as remote sensing and geospatial data. Website

Erin Hanan

Erin studies complex, multi-scale interactions among plant, soil, and hydrologic processes in terrestrial systems. Disturbances such as wildfire, insect outbreaks, and forest clearing play an important role in these dynamics. In many ecosystems, disturbance events are becoming more frequent and severe in response to climate change and growing human populations. Erin uses mathematical models, remote sensing, and empirical analysis to answer questions about how climate change will affect future disturbance regimes, how these shifts will alter biogeochemical and ecohydrologic processes, and how we can mitigate the effects of climate change through management.

Matthew Wibbenmeyer


Matthew is a graduate student in the Department of Economics at UC Santa Barbara, with academic interests at the intersection of environmental and resource economics and public economics. Prior to arriving in Santa Barbara, he worked with the US Forest Service in Missoula, Montana to investigate human dimensions of wildfire risk. At UC Santa Barbara, he has had the opportunity to incorporate his experience studying wildfire management with his interest in the political economy of public goods provision by working with the UCSB Bren School’s first Strategic Environmental Research Initiative (SERI). Website

Will Burke

Bren School new student portraits

William’s research interests broadly include hydrology, water resources, climate change impacts, and modeling methods. His research is part of an effort to use the RHESSys hydro-ecologic model to better study fire and the growing risk it presents in California. Specifically, he is working to develop and incorporate a sediment transport model into the RHESSys model to better simulate fire response. This physical modeling of fire spread and response is part of a larger coupled model which aims to better understand fire and inform fire management. William is further interested in the spatiotemporal variability of wildfire dynamics, and how climate change is likely to impact future fire response.

Ethan Turpin


Media Artist/Director Ethan Turpin was born in Santa Barbara County, one of the most flammable places on Earth.  He founded the Burn Cycle Project as a design and production service in 2013 to help grow understanding of wildfire’s risks, roles, and behaviors.  Burn Cycle offers immersive and interactive media experiences both for professionals and residents living near fire-lands.  Content is generated through collaborations with fire services, scientists, artists, journalists, and educators, for exhibition in public spaces.  Ethan is a credentialed press photographer specializing in fire-related incidents for various media affiliates.  He may often be found in the hills checking out his favorite native plants before, during, and after fire.