Derek is a faculty member of the Graduate Group in Ecology and a research scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis. He is the principal investigator of the FOCAL Lab and the director of the Open Forest Observatory. He splits his time between UC Davis and Vibrant Planet, where he works as a data scientist.

Derek’s research is largely focused on understanding forest recovery from large-scale disturbances like drought and wildfire. In parallel, he is developing methods and tools for using low-cost drone technology to support ecology research. Some of his current projects involve combining drone-based and traditional field-based datasets to understand post-fire tree seed dispersal and early post-fire recovery dynamics. Underlying all of Derek’s work is the aim to use ecological data and knowledge to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of forest management in a changing world.

  • Forest ecology
  • Disturbance ecology
  • Drone-enabled research
  • Forest management
  • PhD in Ecology, 2017

    University of California, Davis

  • BA in Environmental Biology, 2009

    Pomona College