Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Kristin Byrd, Ph.D.

Landscape Ecology, Remote Sensing, and Decision Support for Natural Resources Management

Current Position

Research Physical Scientist
Western Geographic Science Center, Moffett Field, CA

I am an applied landscape ecologist with expertise in vegetation ecology, remote sensing, integrated landscape modeling and stakeholder engagement. I lead interdisciplinary teams in landscape-scale studies of Nature-based Climate Solutions provided by wetlands and working lands. Research topics address coastal ecosystem controls on hurricane impacts, carbon sequestration in tidal marshes, drought resilience in cropland and rangeland, and sustainability of ecosystem services. I integrate models of land use and management, climate and hydrological change to identify potential for climate resilience and adaptation. I analyze multispectral and hyperspectral imagery to quantify ecosystem condition. My work spans the spatial extents of U.S. coastal wetlands, the State of California and large landscapes including the Central Valley, California and Puget Sound, Washington. I emphasize the use of open data and open source software to easily reproduce, update and transfer information. All projects feature extensive outreach to land managers and landowners to aid natural resources decision making.

Current Projects

PI: “Remote Sensing of Mercury Speciation in South San Francisco Bay: Applications of Emerging Technologies to Track Management and Climate Impacts." USGS Bay-Delta Priority Ecosystem Studies Program. 2022 - 2026.

PI: "Current and Future Potential Ecosystem Services of the Nisqually River Delta: An Assessment Approach for Puget Sound Estuaries and USFWS Coastal Refuges." USGS Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and USGS LandCarbon Program. 2019 - 2023. 

Co-PI: SHIFT (NASA Surface Biology and Geology High Density Time Series) Field Campaign, "Coastal Wetland Vegetation Trait Dynamics Across Environmental Gradients." NASA SBG. 2022 - 2023. Lead: Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Co-PI: "Coastal Elevation Models and Land Surface Variables for Use in Forecasting Hurricane Impacts." Hurricane Coastal Impacts, Task 1, National Oceanographic Partnership Program. 2021 - 2024. PI: Dean Gesch, USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center.

Co-PI: "Quantifying Drivers and Stressors of Intertidal Biofilm Resources at the Largest Tidal Wetland Restoration on the U.S. West Coast." USGS Bay-Delta Priority Ecosystem Studies Program. 2019 - 2023. PI: Susan De La Cruz, USGS Western Ecological Research Center.

Co-PI: "Integrating Remote-Sensing and Ecological Forecasting into Decision-Support for Wetland Wildlife Management and Ecosystem Services in the Central Valley of California: Optimizing Across Multiple Benefits." NASA ROSES A.46: Earth Science Applications: Ecological Forecasting. 2017 - 2021. PI: Matt Reiter, Point Blue Conservation Science.

PI: "Remote Sensing and Forecasting Wetland and Watershed Ecosystem Services." USGS National Land Imaging Program. Ongoing.


Professional Experience

  • Research Physical Scientist, USGS Western Geographic Science Center, 2016 - present

  • Physical Scientist, USGS Western Geographic Science Center, 2009 - 2016

  • GIS Coordinator, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA, 2007 - 2008

  • Post-doctoral Researcher, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, U.C. Berkeley, 2006

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
    Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

  • M.A., San Francisco State University
    Ecology and Systematics

  • B.S., Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
    Environmental Science

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • Co-Chair, California Biodiversity Network Systematic Conservation Planning Roundtable, 2023 - present

  • Councillor-at-Large and Chair, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee, International Association of Landscape Ecology-North America, 2019 - 2023

  • San Francisco Bay Wetland Regional Monitoring Program Technical Advisory Committee, 2021 - present

  • NASA Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting Team member, 2017 - 2021

  • NASA Surface Biology and Geology Algorithms Working Group member, 2019 - present

  • USGS Spectroscopy and Hyperspectral Imaging Collaboration member, 2019 - present

  • Member, Society for Conservation Biology, International Association for Landscape Ecology-North America 

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Service Award, International Association for Landscape Ecology - North American Region, 2022                       

Science and Products

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government