Daniel Manier, Ph.D.

Daniel Manier is an ecologist at the Fort Collins Science Center. Daniel has been involved in multiple USGS Sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat-related efforts, including the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Intitative and Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative. 


I am most curious about the patterns and dynamics we observe across a landscape, be it a square meter or 15 million acres. I credit an early appreciation of the formative soil processes model created by Jenny, and later expanded upon by Chapin and others, as shaping my conception of the complex interactions and underlying processes that create the patterns we observe. Coupled with a fascination with change and natural dynamics has led me to explore interactions between vegetation and animals (herbivory), soil, and climate. My ecology career began in Steven Handel’s lab at Rutgers University. I was student labor for projects studying the growth of plants and the distribution of pollinators on Fresh Kills Landfill. Learning about the flood disturbance cycle in local riparian systems, and observing the expansion of vegetation and animals on to the capped landfill stirred my interest in disturbance, regeneration and restoration. On completing work at Rutgers, I began graduate work at Colorado State University (CSU) in the Forest Sciences Department (1994 - 2000). Under the guidance of Richard Laven, the Fire Science program fed my interest in disturbance ecology - and experts in the College of Natural Resources and Graduate Degree Program in Ecology extended my education and experiences well beyond forest ecosystems. That education led to a post-doctoral research for the Habitat Section, Colorado Division of Wildlife under Tom Hobbs at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab (2000 - 2004). That research included multiple components: remote sensing and spatial modeling, field sampling of historic grazing exclusion sites, and biomass and soil nutrient comparisons among grazing treatments. Subsequently, I spent six months working with the Natural Resources Science Support office of the National Park Service helping to integrate communication and natural resources planning processes. This led to the Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Network helping to develop monitoring designs and protocols for 6 National Park Units (2004 - 2008). In 2008, I was recruited to join a team of researchers working on the sagebrush ecosystem - as a contractor to USGS. I started working with a team of USGS, Colorado State University and University of Wyoming Scientists on conservation concerns related to Greater Sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat conditions from local scales up to the entire landscape. As part of the Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative I led the long-term monitoring tool development task, led vegetation sampling for multiple field projects, developed spatial models, worked with local partners and the Science Advisory Committee. I also worked with the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative as part of the Science Team for many years. Additional work at USGS has included restoration monitoring and site evaluation (Ouray NWR), post-fire restoration effectiveness (Wyoming), developing natural resources data to inform transportation planning (with Federal Land Highways).


  • B.A. 1991, Philosophy and Religion, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
  • PhD 2000, Forest Ecology, Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Research Interests and Expertise

  • Plant community and ecosystem ecology: range, shrub and forest systems; sagebrush ecosystem
  • Plant-Animal Interactions: habitat condition and dynamics, herbivory
  • Disturbance ecology: fire, drought, land-use Landscape Ecology - species distribution modeling, patterns and dynamics in abiotic drivers, habitat patterns and dynamics, GIS, spatial statistics
  • Monitoring: spatial-temporal monitoring and sampling design; replicated methods; protocols and documentation