Michelle Audie is a second year MS student continuing on for a PhD in Environmental Science and Natural Resources with Dr. Kevan Moffett’s ecohydrology lab at WSU Vancouver, and is co-advised by Dr. Aaron Ramirez at nearby Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Michelle’s research background is primarily in dendrochronology, forest ecology and watershed biogeochemistry. While her MS research focused on the effects of multi year droughts and mega wildfires on the growth and mortality patterns of bigcone Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa) in southern California, her PhD work will involve a 20th and 21st century dendroecological analysis of western red cedar (Thuja plicata) across the Pacific Northwest extent of its distribution range. Michelle’s previous research experience includes a dendrochronology project with the National Capital Region Network (NCRN) of National Parks in the mid-Atlantic, a high-elevation dendropyrochronology study of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and an assessment of the pre- and post-restoration groundwater residence time effects following stream restoration in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Michelle’s research interests are predominantly rooted in forest ecology, ecophysiology and ethnobotany, however, she is constantly looking to branch into other sciences as needed to fill existing research gaps that support the advancement of forest management strategies and inform policy decisions about public land management. Since Michelle has a professional career in public service with the US EPA Source Water Program, she is also interested in sociocultural responses to land and water resources management decisions. She merges these interests by studying how populations of trees respond to climate fluctuations and landscape disturbance over time and how that relates to the physical and biological interactions of their current environment. Michelle’s research interests are motivated by the fact that trees and forests are directly tied to the quality and availability of water in our environment, and therefore forest ecosystem vitality is deeply connected to our public health, well-being, and more broadly, the sociocultural identities and economic livelihoods of our communities.