Jose’s current research includes reconstructing historical mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the Colorado Front Range. He is also developing field-based developmental models for mountain pine beetle and the Douglas-fir beetle. These will be used to develop predictive models and examining changes in population dynamics under climate change scenarios. Other studies include biological aspects of mountain pine beetle in Colorado, which has been very little studied, such as the role of parent adults in population biology, flight under different stand conditions, phloem consumption, and quantification of brood production from trees growing under different densities. His studies also address the ecology of endemic populations.
Future direction of Jose’s work is the biology, ecology, and management of western bark beetles under climate change, how past disturbances shape our forests, and how to incorporate research findings into forest management strategies.
There is abundant literature on many aspects of the biology and ecology of the major bark beetles, such as mountain pine beetle and Douglas-fir beetle in the Intermountain West. Very little known about these insects in the Colorado Front Range. Past research has focused on the development of simple models to estimate the probability of infestation and extent of mortality caused by bark beetles. Target species include mountain pine beetle, Douglas-fir beetle, pinyon ips beetles, and the roundheaded pine beetle in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Black Hills. Other work addressed little know aspects on the biology of the western balsam bark beetle, and the flight periodicity and sampling of populations of Douglas-fir beetle. Fire and insect interactions are also part of Jose’s research portfolio.
Bark beetles are integral components of the ecology of western forests. Insect-caused mortality often comes in conflict with land manager objectives and impact other ecosystem services. Bark beetles, particularly the mountain pine beetle, have been the subject of research for decades. Still large gaps exist in our knowledge on how these insects operate and shape our forests and how to use the information in forest management. Climate change is challenging knowledge from the past as insects are responding to climate change by expanding distributions, exhibiting different overwintering ecology, and influencing developmental patterns to name a few. In order to better manage disturbances as climate change continues to manifest, our knowledge has to be updated to offer proper management responses.