US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • 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
New Mexico
United States

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. Currently, I am developing a spatially explicit model to predict fire damage on cultural resources within New Mexico and adapting the vulnerability assessment framework to explore the implications of climate change impacts for fire regimes within the Southwest. I am also actively involved with a number of state and federally sponsored climate change vulnerability assessments for western and southwestern ecosystems.

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:

  • 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.
Relevant Publications:
Friggens, Megan; Raish, Carol; Finch, Deborah; McSweeney, Alice. 2014. The influence of personal belief, agency mission and city size on open space decision making processes in three southwestern cities. Urban Ecosystems. doi: 10.1007/s11252-014-0419-3.

Friggens, Megan M.; Finch, Deborah M.; Bagne, Karen E.; Coe, Sharon J.; Hawksworth, David L. 2013. Vulnerability of species to climate change in the    
Southwest: terrestrial species of the Middle Rio Grande. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-306. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,  Rocky Mountain Research Station. 191 p.

Friggens, Megan M.; Beier, Paul. 2010. Anthropogenic disturbance and the risk of flea-borne disease transmission. Oecologia. 164: 809-820.

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.


  • 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


Research Highlights


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 ...


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 ...


Last updated on : 11/17/2018