Kathryn A Thomas, Ph.D.
I am a research ecologist with the Southwest Biological Science Center, currently stationed in Tucson, Arizona; I've worked the Southwestern deserts since 1989 and for the USGS since 1995. My areas of expertise are in biodiversity studies during the anthrocene including studies of vegetation ecology, plant-insect interactions and invasive species on landscape and community scales.
The Bee Course, American Museum of Natural History, Portal, Arizona
Certificate of Emergency Management Planning. U. of Washington
Doctor of Philosophy, Geography. University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA. ‘Vegetation and floristic diversity in the Mojave Desert of California: A regional conservation evaluation'.
Masters of Science, Environmental Horticulture. University of California at Davis, Davis, California. ‘Vegetative propagation and Actinorhizal nodulation of Ceanothus spp.'
Bachelor of Science, Biology. University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
Ecologist Southwest Biological Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Tucson & Flagstaff, Arizona - 1995-2010, 2012-present
Information Management Liaison, Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Program, Portland, Oregon 2010 - 2012
Plant Phenology Program Coordinator - USA National Phenology Network, Tucson Arizona - 2007-2010
Adjunct professor Northern Arizona University Geography Dept. 1997-2005, University of Arizona School of Natural Resources and the Environment 2014-present
Science and Products
Renewable energy development is expanding in southwestern deserts, including in Arizona. Energy developers look to resource management agencies to provide siting guidance on public lands where there might be conflicts with wildlife. Often, agency guidance considers species of conservation concern and economic importance, but information on comprehensive vertebrate biodiversity has been hard to...
Although most introduced insects are relatively benign, some become high-impact pests causing widespread ecological and economic damage. Introduced insects that are specialists and feed on a single genus of plants can be high-impact as they can potentially eliminate an entire native plant genus over large areas. Luckily, most introduced insects with this feeding behavior do not become high-...
Arizona is the home to at least 10 cacti that are listed as endangered, threatened, or under conservation agreement. Land use and management activities that occur on federal, and to some extent state, lands on which the cacti occur require consultation among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency managing the land on which the cacti is growing, and the party proposing an...
Predicting the next high-impact insect invasion: Elucidating traits and factors determining the risk of introduced herbivorous insects on North American native plants
Non-native insect invasions increasingly cause widespread ecological and economic damage in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Non-native insects specialized for feeding on specific plant groups are particularly problematic as they can potentially eliminate an entire genus of native plant species across a wide area. For example, emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees...
The Southwest Exotic Plant Mapping Program (SWEMP) is a collaborative effort to compile and distribute regional data on the occurrence of non-native invasive plants in the southwestern U.S. The database represents the known sites of non-native invasive plant infestations within AZ and NM, and adjacent portions of CA, CO, NV and UT. These data were collected from 1911to 2006.
These data provide the locational coordinates, soil texture characteristics, plant species occurrence and cover, and vegetation summary characteristics for the Tsezhin bii region in the south-central area of the Navajo Nation.
Arizona hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. arizonicus)—A systematic data assessment in support of recovery
The Arizona hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. arizonicus) is endemic to central Arizona in Gila and Pinal Counties, and has been federally listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) since 1979. Mining, mineral exploration, and highway development have resulted in habitat degradation and loss of individual...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Shryock, Daniel F.; Esque, Todd C.
Landscape-scale wildlife species richness metrics to inform wind and solar energy facility siting: An Arizona case study
The juxtaposition of wildlife and wind or solar energy facility infrastructure can present problems for developers, planners, policy makers, and management agencies. Guidance on siting of these renewable energy facilities may help identify potential wildlife-facility conflicts with species of regulatory or economic concern. However, existing...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Jarchow, Christopher; Arundel, Terence R.; Jamwal, Pankaj; Borens, Amanda; Drost, Charles A.
Survival of the endangered Pima pineapple cactus: Does clearing before prescribed fire alter survival postfire?
Federal land managers and ranchers often use prescribed fire as a tool to reduce invading woody plants within desert grasslands of the arid southwestern United States. Managers must evaluate the threat of the burn toward the health and survival of plants of concern including how preemptive clearing before prescribed fire might benefit these...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Jarchow, Christopher; Crawford, Julie A.
Southwest Exotic Mapping Program (SWEMP) Database, 2007
The Southwest Exotic Plant Mapping Program (SWEMP) is a collaborative effort between the United States Geological Survey and federal, tribal, state, county and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners in the southwest. This project is an ongoing effort to compile and distribute regional data on the occurrence of non-native invasive plants in...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Guertin, Patricia
Vegetation of semi-stable rangeland dunes of the Navajo Nation, Southwestern USA
Dune destabilization and increased mobility is a worldwide issue causing ecological, economic, and health problems for the inhabitants of areas with extensive dune fields. Dunes cover nearly a third of the Navajo Nation within the Colorado Plateau of southwestern USA. There, higher temperatures and prolonged drought beginning in 1996 have produced...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Redsteer, Margaret H.
Organization of marine phenology data in support of planning and conservation in ocean and coastal ecosystems
Among the many effects of climate change is its influence on the phenology of biota. In marine and coastal ecosystems, phenological shifts have been documented for multiple life forms; however, biological data related to marine species' phenology remain difficult to access and is under-used. We conducted an assessment of potential sources of...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Fornwall, Mark D.; Weltzin, Jake F.; Griffis, R.B.
Standardized phenology monitoring methods to track plant and animal activity for science and resource management applications
Phenology offers critical insights into the responses of species to climate change; shifts in species’ phenologies can result in disruptions to the ecosystem processes and services upon which human livelihood depends. To better detect such shifts, scientists need long-term phenological records covering many taxa and across a broad geographic...Denny, Ellen G.; Gerst, Katharine L.; Miller-Rushing, Abraham J.; Tierney, Geraldine L.; Crimmins, Theresa M.; Enquist, Carolyn A.F.; Guertin, Patricia; Rosemartin, Alyssa H.; Schwartz, Mark D.; Thomas, Kathryn A.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Plant distributions in the southwestern United States; a scenario assessment of the modern-day and future distribution ranges of 166 Species
The authors developed spatial models of the predicted modern-day suitable habitat (SH) of 166 dominant and indicator plant species of the southwestern United States (herein referred to as the Southwest) and then conducted a coarse assessment of potential future changes in the distribution of their suitable habitat under three climate-change...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Guertin, Patricia P.; Gass, Leila
2009 Data Summary USA-NPN Technical Series
The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) engages volunteer observers to collect phenology observations of plants and animals using consistent standards and to contribute to the USA-NPN National Phenology Database. In March 2009, the USA-NPN National Coordinating Office implemented an online monitoring program for 213 plant species. In this...Crimmins, Theresa M.; Rosemartin, Alyssa H.; Thomas, Kathryn A.; Marsh, R. Lee; Denny, Ellen G.; Weltzin, Jake F.
Vegetation classification and distribution mapping report: Canyon de Chelly National Monument
No abstract available.Thomas, K.A.; McTeague, M.L.; Ogden, Lindsay; Schulz, K.; Fancher, Tammy; Waltermire, Robert; Cully, A.
The Restoration Rapid Assessment Tool: An Access/Visual Basic application
Managers of parks and natural areas are increasingly faced with difficult decisions concerning restoration of disturbed lands. Financial and workforce resources often limit these restoration efforts, and rarely can a manager afford to address all concerns within the region of interest. With limited resources, managers and scientists have to decide...Hiebert, Ron; Larson, D.L.; Thomas, K.; Tancreto, N.; Haines, D.; Richey, A.; Dow, T.; Drees, L.
Petrified Forest National Park Invasive Plant Species Survey and Mapping; 2002-2005
We conducted a survey for invasive nonnative plant species at Petrified Forest National Park from 2002 through 2005. The survey employed a unique sampling design consisting of a grid of consecutive one-hectare cells as the sampling units. Our use of predetermined sampling units allowed all observations to be referenced to a fixed area with...Thomas, Kathryn A.; Hunt, Randall; Arundel, Terry R.; Guertin, P.