Science Literacy Coordinator
PH.D. Candidate and Program Coordinator for Working Lands Conservation, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Dillon is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Large-scale Rangeland Conservation Lab in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He started his Ph.D. in 2017 following completion of his M.S. in Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University in 2016 and B.S. in Biology from Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota in 2013. Prior to attending graduate school, Dillon worked for South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks in the Black Hills and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as a wildlife technician.
Dillon is an applied ecologist. His research focuses on large-scale conservation of fire-dependent ecosystems, with an emphasis on what makes grasslands vulnerable to woody invasion and how management actions and policies can be used to reduce grassland vulnerability. This pursuit has led him to study ecosystem services, invasion biology, wildlife, fire, and human dimensions of land management. Ultimately, his work seeks to inform solutions for large-scale conservation through research, extension, and teaching.
Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Dirac is an assistant professor leading the Applied Complex Adaptive Systems Lab in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska. He earned his Ph.D. in Ecosystem Science and Management from Texas A&M in 2012 following an M.S. in Rangeland Ecology and Management from Oklahoma State University in 2006 and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2003.
Dirac’s research interests include: 1) Social-ecological resilience to extreme disturbance and climatic events, 2) Resilience, hysteresis, and thresholds in alternative states and their applications in ecosystem management, 3) Trade-offs of changing land use and disturbance regimes in couple human-natural systems, 4) Forecasting threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, 5) Disaster avoidance and wildfire management at the rangeland-urban interface, and 6) The integration of science in natural resource policy and management. Dirac’s interdisciplinary work across the Great Plains involves the application of modern ecological theory in practice and developing integrative solutions to woody plant encroachment and wildfire in grassy ecosystems. For more information on Dirac’s research program, visit his lab website at https://agronomy.unl.edu/twidwellresearchteam.
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