Jennifer Briggs


Jenny Briggs joined the US Geological Survey in 2008 as a Research Ecologist and works at the interdisciplinary Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center in Denver, Colorado.  She obtained a B.A. in Human Biology at Stanford University in 1994 and a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2003. Her research investigates the interaction between ecological and anthropogenic disturbances in forested ecosystems. Recently, she has focused on the dynamics of insect epidemics, fire, and forest management (e.g. restoration, fuel reduction, and prescribed burning) in Colorado.  She welcomes opportunities to work collaboratively with management agency partners and educators on questions of concern to resource management decisions, and participates in several regional interagency research-management teams that are part of national programs. 



Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). 2003.

Dissertation: Effects of prescribed and wild fire on plant-animal interactions in pine forests of the eastern Sierra Nevada.  Advisor: Stephen Vander Wall.

B.A., Human Biology (Focus: Ecological and Human Communities), Stanford University, California. 1994.


Professional experience:

2008 – present:  Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO. 

2007:  Field Ecologist, Irvine Ranch Conservancy, Irvine, CA

2006:  Instructor, Department of Biological Science, California State University Northridge, CA.

2005-6: Instructor, Biology Department, Pasadena City College, CA. 

2004:  Post-doctoral Associate, Biological Resources Research Center, University of Nevada, Reno, NV.

2004-5: Instructor, College of Arts and Science and College of Education ("Nevada Educators Really Doing Science" program), University of Nevada, Reno.

1997- 2003:  Graduate research assistant and teaching assistant, Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, University of Nevada, Reno.

1994-1997: Teacher, Pacific Oaks Childrens' School, Pacific Grove, CA

1993: Undergraduate research assistant, Hopkins Marine Station and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CA


Interagency or interdisciplinary collaborative work at USGS: 

  • Front Range Forest Roundtable Science and Monitoring Team (2008-present)
  • USGS Fire Science Thrust project, Grand County, Colorado (2008-2010)
  • Northern Front Range Mountain Pine Beetle Working Group (2008-present)
  • Technical Advisory Team for the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) initiative partnership between USGS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2008-9)
  • Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) National Geographic Framework Rapid Prototyping Team, USFWS and USGS (2009)
  • Colorado Forest Health Assessment Steering Team (2009)
  • Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, Joint Fire Science Program (Steering Team member, 2010-present)
  • Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (USDA Forest Service and partners) (2011-present)
  • Front Range Roundtable Wildlife Working Team (2012-present) 
  • Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network (FLN; led by The Nature Conservancy) (2014- present) 
  • Science Mentor and Science Fair Judge at local elementary schools, regional and state science fairs, and Denver Museum of Nature and Science (2013- present)
  • Research Experience for Community College Students Program (RECCS; led by the CIRES Education and Outreach Program at Univ. Colorado Boulder) (June 2015-present)


Peer-reviewed publications

Briggs, J. S., Hawbaker, T. J., and Vandendriesche, D. 2015. Resilience of ponderosa and lodgepole pine forests to mountain pine beetle disturbance and limited regeneration.  Forest Science 61: 689-702

West, D. R., Briggs, J. S., Jacobi, W. R., and Negron, J. F. 2015. Mountain pine beetle host selection between ponderosa and lodgepole pine in the southern Rocky mountains. In press. Environmental Entomology.

West, D. R., J. S. Briggs, W. Jacobi, and J. F. Negron. 2014. Mountain pine beetle-caused mortality over eight years in two hosts in mixed-pine stands of the southern Rocky Mountains. Forest Ecology and Management 334: 321-330 

Rhoades, C. R.,  J. H. McCutchan Jr., L. A. Cooper, D. Clow, T. M. Detmer, J. S. Briggs, J. D. Stednick, T. T. Veblen, R. M. Ertz, G. E. Likens, and W. M. Lewis. 2013. Biogeochemistry of beetle killed forests: explaining a weak nitrate response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:1756-1760

Caldwell, M. K., T. J. Hawbaker, J. S. Briggs, P. W. Cigan, and S. Stitt. 2013. Simulated impacts of mountain pine beetle and wildfire disturbances on forest vegetation composition and carbon stocks in the Southern Rocky mountains. Biogeosciences 10: 8203-8222

Kocher, S.D., E. Toman, S. F. Trainor, V. Wright, J. S. Briggs, C.P. Goebel, E.M. MontBlanc, A. Oxarart, D. L. Pepin, T. A. Steelman, A. Thode, T. A. Waldrop. 2012. How can we span the boundaries between wildland fire science and management in the United States? Journal of Forestry 110: 421-428.

Millard, M. J.,  C. A. Czarnecki, J. M. Morton, L. A. Brandt, J. S. Briggs, F. S. Shipley, R. Sayre, P. J. Sponholtz, D. Perkins, D. G. Simpkins, J. Taylor.  2012.  A national geographic framework for guiding conservation on a landscape scale. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 3: 175-183.

Clow, D., C. R. Rhoades, J. S. Briggs, M. K. Caldwell, and W. Lewis. 2011. Responses of soil and water chemistry to mountain pine beetle induced tree mortality in Grand County, Colorado, USA. Applied Geochemistry 26: S174-S178.

Semmens, D. J., J.S. Briggs, and D.A. Martin. 2009. An Ecosystem Services Framework for Multidisciplinary Research in the Colorado River Headwaters. In Webb, R.M.T., and Semmens, D.J., eds. Planning for an uncertain future—Monitoring, integration, and adaptation. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5049.

Briggs, J.S., S.B. Vander Wall, and S.H. Jenkins. 2009. Forest rodents provide directed dispersal of Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi). Ecology 90: 675-687

Vander Wall, S.B., J.S. Briggs, S.H. Jenkins, K.M. Kuhn, T.C. Thayer and M.J. Beck. 2006. Do food-hoarding animals have a cache recovery advantage? Determining recovery of stored food. Animal Behaviour 72:189-107

Briggs, J.S. and S.B. Vander Wall. 2004. Substrate type affects caching and pilferage of pine seeds by chipmunks. Behavioral Ecology 15: 666-679

Vander Wall, S.B., M.J. Beck, J.S. Briggs, J.K. Roth, T.C. Thayer, J.L. Hollander, and J.M. Armstrong. 2003.  Interspecific variation in the olfactory abilities of granivorous rodents. Journal of Mammalogy 84: 487-496

Vander Wall, S.B., T.C. Thayer, J.S. Hodge (now Briggs), M.J. Beck and J.K. Roth. 2001. Scatter-hoarding behavior of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). Western North American Naturalist 61: 109-113.

Manley, P., M. Schlesinger, J. S. Hodge (now Briggs) and others. 2000. Biodiversity of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Chapter 5 and Appendices O, N, in Knopp, C. and Murphy, D, eds. Lake Tahoe Watershed Assessment, South Lake Tahoe, CA. USFS Gen Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-175. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, USDA. 739 p.

Chen, D.S., G. van Dykhuizen, J. S. Hodge (now Briggs) and W.F. Gilly. 1996. Ontogeny of copepod predation in juvenile squid, Loligo opalescens. Biological Bulletin 190: 69-81.


Professional conference presentations (*indicates presenter)

Briggs, J. S. , D. West, T. Hawbaker, S. Costello, D. West, J. Negron, S. Stephens, W. Jacobi, C. D. Allen, and M. Blackburn. 2015.  How did past management - thinning and burning - affect ponderosa pine forests' resilience to a mountain pine beetle epidemic in Colorado? Association for Fire Ecology conference, San Antonio TX. 

Briggs, J.S.*, S. Costello, D. West, J. Negron, S. Stephens, W. Jacobi, and C. D. Allen. 2012. Ecological and anthropogenic disturbance in Colorado's Front Range: interactions of insect epidemics, past management, and fire.  International Association for Landscape Ecology, Newport, RI.

Clow, D.*, L. A. Cooper*, C. Rhoades, W. Lewis, J. S. Briggs, and J. McCutchan. 2012. Response of Soil and Water Chemistry to Mountain Pine Beetle Mortality. Biennial Rocky Mountain National Park Research Symposium, March 28, 2012 in Estes Park, CO. (Invited).

Briggs, J. S.*, P. J. Fornwalt, J. Feinstein, C. Hansen, T. Cheng, G. Aplet, and P. Lewis. 2012. Collaborative monitoring of restoration impacts on ponderosa pine ecosystems in the Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative. International Association for Landscape Ecology, Newport, RI. (Invited).

Briggs, J.S.*, P. J. Fornwalt*, J. Feinstein, C. Hansen, T. Cheng, G. Aplet, and P. Lewis. 2012. Collaborative monitoring of restoration treatment impacts in ponderosa pine ecosystems.  Southwest Association for Fire Ecology conference, Santa Fe, NM. (Invited).

Briggs, J.S.*, D. R. West, S. Costello, J. Negron, S. Stephens, W. Jacobi, and C. D. Allen. 2012. “Three Years of Mountain Pine Beetle Impacts in Three Species of Pine in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Front Range.” Biennial Rocky Mountain National Park Research Symposium, March 28, 2012 in Estes Park, CO. (Invited).

Sibold, J. S.*, M. Gonzales, A. Urza, A. Mensing, and J. S. Briggs. 2012. Rapid Forest Change Stresses Importance of Adaptive Management. Biennial Rocky Mountain National Park Research Symposium, March 28, 2012 in Estes Park, CO. (Invited).

Finch, D.*, P.J. Fornwalt, J.S. Briggs, and C. Smith. 2012. Integrating Opportunities for Restoration Science and Adaptive Management: LCCs and CFLRP.  National LCC (Landscape Conservation Cooperative) Workshop, Denver CO.  (Invited).

Caldwell, M. K.*, T.J. Hawbaker, P. Cigan, S. Stitt, and J. Briggs. 2011. Changes in forest vegetation and carbon storage following mountain pine beetle disturbance in the Southern Rocky Mountains.  Ecological Society of America, Austin, TX. (Poster.)

Briggs, J. S.*, S. Costello*, D. West, J. Negron, S. Stephens, W. Jacobi, and C. D. Allen. 2010. Impacts of Mountain Pine Beetle on forested ecosystems in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Front Range, Colorado.  Rocky Mountain National Park Biannual Research Conference, Estes Park, CO. (Invited.)

Briggs, J.S.*, S. Costello, D. West, J. Negron, S. Stephens, W. Jacobi, and C. D. Allen. 2010. Potential Effects of Mountain Pine Beetle in Front Range Ponderosa Pine Forests: Recent Findings and Key Questions. Interagency conference, "Beyond the Bugs: The Future Range of Variability of Communities and Forest Landscapes" hosted by the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, CSU, Colorado State Forest Service, and Society of American Foresters. Steamboat Springs, CO. (Invited.)

Briggs, J.S.*, J. F. Negron, J. Klutsch, M. Battaglia, D.R. West, S. Costello, J. A. Hicke, A. Meddens, A. Hudak, L. Kurth, and D. Helmbrecht. 2009. Evaluating changes in fuels and potential fire behavior in Colorado's Mountain Pine Beetle-affected lodgepole forests: integrating field data, remotely sensed imagery, and modeling.  4th International Congress on Fire Ecology and Management, Savannah, GA. (Invited.)

Semmens, D.*, J. S. Briggs, and D. A. Martin. 2008. An Ecosystem Services Framework for Multidisciplinary Research in the Colorado River Headwaters. Third Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, Estes Park, Colorado.

Briggs, J.S.*, S. B. Vander Wall, S. H. Jenkins, and D. D. Murphy.  2004. Changes in forest rodent communities after fire: consequences for dispersal and regeneration of pine. Northwestern Scientific Association, Ellensburg, WA. (Invited)

Briggs, J.S.,* S. B. Vander Wall, S. H. Jenkins, and D. D. Murphy.  2004. Effects of disturbance on a plant-animal interaction: dispersal of pine seeds by rodents after fire. Ecological Society of America, Portland, OR.

Briggs, J. S.* and S. B. Vander Wall. 2003. Effects of prescribed vs. wild fires on seed dispersal processes in Sierran pine forests. Bay Area Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology, Davis, CA.

Briggs, J. S.* and S. B. Vander Wall.  2003. Pine regeneration after prescribed and wild fires: the role of seed dispersal by animals.  International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress, Orlando, FL.

Briggs, J.S.* and S. B. Vander Wall. 2002. Effects of fire on animal-mediated and abiotic seed dispersal processes. Association for Fire Ecology and the Western Section of the Wildlife Society, San Diego, CA. 


Invited presentations to audiences of resource managers and stakeholders

Briggs J. S.*, P. J. Fornwalt*, J. A. Feinstein*. 2014. “Progress toward desired conditions? Final report on restoration treatment effects in forests of the Colorado Front Range.” Landscape Restoration team of the Front Range Roundtable, project update and discussion, January 23, 2014

Briggs, J.S. 2013. “Progress and challenges with collaborative monitoring and adaptive management in the Front Range CFLRP.” US Forest Service and Partners’ Regions 2 and 3 CFLRP workshop, Montrose CO, October 28-30, 2013.

Briggs, J. S.* and D. R. West.*  2012. “How does management affect forests' resilience to mountain pine beetle?" Northern Front Range Mountain Pine Beetle Working Group quarterly meeting, March 16, 2012.

Briggs, J. S. 2011.  “Interactions between mountain pine beetle and fire in lodgepole pine forests.”  Special session at Regional Prescribed Fire Workshop/Burn Boss Refresher, U.S. Forest Service Regional Office, January 21, 2011, Golden, CO.

Briggs, J. S.*, S. Costello*, and D. West. 2011. “Impacts of mountain pine beetle in Rocky Mountain National Park: will all the big, old trees be lost?” Rocky Mountain National Park Resource Stewardship Workshop, February 16, 2011.

Briggs, J.S.*, J. Negron, S. Costello, S. Stephens, and D. West. 2011. “Mountain pine beetle in the Front Range: effects of past management.” Front Range Fuel Treatment Partnership Implementers’ Annual Meeting, March 2, 2011.

Briggs, J.S.*, D. West, J. Negron, S. Costello, S. Stephens. 2011. “Mountain Pine Beetle in the Front Range: Does management history or location matter most?” Roundtable Quarterly Meeting, May 4, 2011, Longmont CO.

Briggs, J. S.*, P. Fornwalt*, J. Feinstein, and C. Hansen.  2011. “The SRLCC Pilot Study in the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project on the Front Range: Year 1.” Roundtable Quarterly Meeting, November 3, 2011, Colorado Springs, CO.

West, D.*, and J. Briggs. 2010. “Mountain pine beetle in the Front Range: infestation of ponderosa vs. lodgepole pine.”  Northern Front Range MPB Working Group quarterly meeting, February 16, 2010. Longmont, CO.

Clow, D.*, C. R. Rhoades, and J. Briggs.   2010. “Effects of MPB on soil and water chemistry in Grand County, CO.”  Beetles and Water: Management- Research Symposium hosted by CU Boulder and the Western Water Assessment (NOAA), December 10, 2010, Boulder, CO.