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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Megan Friggens

Megan M. Friggens

Research Ecologist
333 Broadway SE, Suite 115
Albuquerque
New Mexico
United States
87102-3660

Phone: 505-724-3679
Fax: 505-724-3688
Contact Megan M. Friggens


Current Research

I use a variety of methods to assess future threats and impacts to wildlife species and habitats arising from climate change and related disturbances. I recently applied a coupled model approach to assess habitat and species vulnerability to climate and wildfire in the southwestern U.S. Ongoing and recently completed projects include:
  • As part of a JFSP funded project, I have created a vulnerability assessment tool that allows managers to assess ecosystem vulnerabilty to changes in climate and wildfire regimes at the landscape level;
  • In collaboration with Audubon Tucson, I am guiding the developement of habitat suitability models for the Western yellow-billed cuckoo in Arizona;
  • I have just completed work that uses machine learning to predict wildfire impacts on cultural resources within New Mexico;

I am also actively involved with a number of state and federally sponsored climate change vulnerability assessments for western and southwestern ecosystems.

Bagne, Karen E.; Friggens, Megan M.; Coe, Sharon J.; Finch, Deborah M. 2014. The importance of assessing climate change vulnerability to address species conservation. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 5(2): 450-462, e1944-687X. Friggens, Megan M.; Williams, Mary I.; Bagne, Karen E.; Wixom, Tosha T.; Cushman, Samuel A. 2018. Effects of climate change on terrestrial animals [Chapter 9]. In: Halofsky, Jessica E.; Peterson, David L.; Ho, Joanne J.; Little, Natalie, J.; Joyce, Linda A., eds. Climate change vulnerability and adaptation in the Intermountain Region [Part 2]. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-375. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 264-315.

Research Interests

My research interests include landscape scale analysis of disturbance processes (fire, drought, land conversion, pathogens and parasites); climate change impacts on wildlife species; habitat change due to changing climate; wildlife disease ecology; wildlife disease as an invasive species issue; and, conservation biology.

Past Research

My previous research projects include:

  • Modeling the relationship between landscape characteristics and wildfire impacts on prehistoric artifacts and features;
  • Co-developing spatially explicit vulnerabiltiy assessments for piñon-juniper and sagebrush habitats, aquatic ecoystems and fish, and mule deer and elk;
  • Integrating habitat suitability models generated for SW wildlife species under fusure climate scenarios with predicted fire impacts to better assess future habitat availability;
  • Developing a database of climate change vulnerability assessments for aquatic systems;
  • Federal land management decision making processes for open spaces in the Southwest;
  • Vulnerability assessments for riparian species along the Rio Grande, New Mexico, and in the Sky Islands of Arizona;
  • Climate change impacts within the Western U.S.;
  • Climate mediated mechanisms of plague introduction into prairie dogs;
  • Predicting the presence and spread of zoonotic disease;
  • Estimating the effect of anthropogenic disturbance on the risk of flea-borne disease transmission;
  • Identifying the effect of fire on wildlife disease.
Friggens, Megan; Raish, Carol; Finch, Deborah; McSweeney, Alice. 2015. The influence of personal belief, agency mission and city size on open space decision making processes in three southwestern cities. Urban Ecosystems. 18: 577-598. Friggens, Megan M.; Finch, Deborah M. 2015. Implications of climate change for bird conservation in the southwestern U.S. under three alternative futures. PLoS ONE. 10(12): e0144089. Friggens, Megan M.; Woodlief, Carly K. 2015. Final Report: Synthesis of aquatic climate change vulnerability assessments for the Interior West. Albuquerque, NM: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 67 p. Friggens, Megan M.; Loehman, Rachel; Holsinger, Lisa; Finch, Deborah. 2014. Vulnerability of riparian obligate species to the interactive effect of fire, climate and hydrological change. Final Report for Interagency Agreement #13-IA-11221632-006. Albuquerque, NM: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 213 p. Amelon, Sybill; Brooks, Robert T.; Glaeser, Jessie; Friggens, Megan; Lindner, Daniel; Loeb, Susan C.; Lynch, Ann; Minnis, Drew; Perry, Roger; Rowland, Mary M.; Tomosy, Monica; Weller, Ted. 2012. U.S. Forest Service Research and Development (USFS R/D) national science strategy on White Nose Syndrome (WNS). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Research and Development. 18 p.

Why This Research is Important

Much of my research aims to help managers and conservationists identify successful strategies for addressing issues relating to species conservation under global change. Climate change affects species' interactions in unpredictable ways and is likely to increase the negative impact of invasive species and disease. Synergistic climate-fire impacts are of particular importance within the western U.S. Managers are faced with the task of making decisions under a number of uncertainties relating to future conditions and species' responses to those conditions. I use syntheses, models, and actively engage managers to reduce this uncertainty and identify probable outcomes to help identify adaptive management strategies for conserving critical resources.

 

Bagne, Karen E.; Friggens, Megan M.; Coe, Sharon J.; Finch, Deborah M. 2014. The importance of assessing climate change vulnerability to address species conservation. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. 5(2): 450-462, e1944-687X. Bagne, Karen E.; Friggens, Megan M.; Finch, Deborah M. 2011. A System for Assessing Vulnerability of Species (SAVS) to Climate Change. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-257. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 28 p.

Education

  • Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, Ph.D. Forestry 2010
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM, M.S. Biology 2002
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM, B.S. Biology 1999

Professional Organizations

  • The Wildlife Society, Member (2002 - Current)
  • Ecological Society of America, Member (2000 - Current)

Awards & Recognition

  • Department of Interior, Partners in Conservation Award, 2011
    Received for contributions to "Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A guide to climate change vulnerability assessment"

Featured Publications & Products

Publications

Research Highlights

HighlightTitleYear


RMRS-2016-241
Collaborative Venture Between Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station

Successful management of natural and cultural resources needs to account for increasing stress due to climate change, wildfire, and anthropogeni ...

2016


RMRS-2015-89
Scientists Quantify Climate Change Vulnerability of Wildlife in Southwestern United States Riparian Habitats

Forest Service scientists have developed a coupled approach to estimate the interactive impacts of climate change and fire on species that resid ...

2015


Last updated on : 08/12/2019