Description: Description: 


The Tinker Lab for

Forest & Fire Ecology

University of Wyoming     -    Department of Botany     -     Program in Ecology








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Current Lab Members 


Daniel Tinker

Principal Investigator
Office: Aven Nelson 130
Phone: 307-766-4967


Dan received his B.S. from Fort Lewis College in 1993, his M.S. from the University of Wyoming in 1996, and his Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1999.  He conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1999-2000.  He has worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources Management at Western Carolina University and as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Wyoming.  Since 2005, he has been employed as an assistant/associate professor of Botany at the University of Wyoming.




Kellen Nelson

Current PhD student
Office: Aven Nelson 210
Phone: 307-766-3047

Web Page: Kellen's Site


Kellen’s primary interests lie in forest disturbance regimes, forest health, landscape dynamics and spatial ecology. He holds a BS in Forestry Biology (2004) and a MS in Forest Ecology (2009) from Colorado State University.  For the last decade, he has participated in forest ecology research throughout Colorado and Wyoming. After graduating with his MS degree, he spent two years working for the USDA Forest Service; first, as a monitoring analyst for the Washington DC office then as a technology transfer forester for the National Inventory and Monitoring Application Center.  Kellen looks forward to learning about new tools for testing the mechanics of ecological disturbance and continuing to work in ecological research after graduating with a PhD from the University of Wyoming.




Paige Copenhaver-Parry

Current PhD student
Office: Aven Nelson 210
Phone: 307-766-3047


Paige received her B.S. in Biology from George Fox University in 2011 with an emphasis in ecology and field biology. During her undergraduate studies she conducted research related to animal physiology under Dr. Donald Powers. Her projects focused on sexual selection in red-sided garter snakes and on thermoregulation in rough-skinned newts.

Despite her foray into animal physiology, her primary interests have always been in forest and disturbance ecology and climate change. Thus, she came to UW to pursue a graduate degree under Dan Tinker. Her work thus far has  focused on developing allometric equations and analyzing biomass partitioning in post fire lodgepole pine stands in Yellowstone. Her future research will investigate the role of interspecific competition along Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Lodgepole pine ecotones to aid in predictions of range expansion/contraction of Rocky Mountain conifers under projected future climate scenarios.




Greg Pappas

Current MS student
Current E-mail:


Greg graduated from the University of Wyoming with B.S. degrees in Geography and Agroecology, and minors in Botany, Soil Science, and Reclamation and Restoration Ecology.  He joined the Tinker Lab for Forest and Fire Ecology in the fall of 2012, and is currently working on his M.S. in Botany.  His main research interests lie in plant community ecology and disturbance ecology, particularly in forest ecosystems.  For his thesis research, he is studying understory vegetation response to mountain pine beetle-induced lodgepole pine mortality.



Paul Hood

Current MS student

Current Email:


Paul received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in Physical Geography with a minor in Environmental Studies. Post-graduation, Paul spent a number of years gaining experience in wildland fire and fuels, wildlife research and geographic information systems. He is currently a master’s student studying fire ecology and fuel moisture dynamics at the University of Wyoming. His research focuses on the implications of forest harvest methods on fuel loads and fuel moisture dynamics.



Gail Stakes

Laboratory assistant
Office: Aven Nelson 210
Phone: 307-766-3047


Gail is a part-time lab assistant for the Tinker Laboratory for Forest and Fire Ecology. Gail performs a wide variety of tasks including lab management, processing field samples, data entry and analysis, manuscript preparation, computer operations, and in general serves as the “glue between the cracks” to help the lab run smoothly and efficiently. Gail Stakes received an MS in Electrical Engineering and a BS in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University. She worked for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and associated subcontractors for 15 years in East Tennessee.  Gail moved to Laramie, Wyoming in 2004 to share a ranch and academic life with Dan Tinker.


Former Lab Members