David Wallin



I have degrees in Biology from Juniata College (B.S.; 1978) and the College of William and Mary (M.A.; 1982) and a degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia (Ph.D.; 1990). Between 1991 and 1995, I worked as a Research Associate and Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Sciences at Oregon State University. I have been a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Western Washington University since 1995. My research focuses on the regional-scale study of land-use effects on the structure and function of forest ecosystems. My work is heavily dependent on the use of simulation models, GIS and satellite remote sensing. Most recently, I have become quite interested in the use of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) for environmental research and monitoring. Past projects have evaluated the consequences of forest change for vertebrate diversity and the regional carbon budget. Although most of my work takes place in the Pacific Northwest, I have also been involved in comparative studies of land-use effects on forest structure in other parts of the world. Much of my recent work has focused on wildlife conservation and the structure and function of riparian forests.


PhD Environmental Science, University of Virginia; MA Biology, The College of William and Mary; BS Biology, Juniata College

Research Interests

Current Projects

I have several former students (Leslie Parks, Andrew Shirk, Matt Warren and Tzeidle Wasserman) who have worked in the emerging field of landscape genetics. This field represents a synthesis of population genetics and landscape ecology. I am also exploring opportunities to expand this work with other wildlife species in the Cascades. I have two former students (Tana Beus and Adam Wells) who have examined seasonal habitat relationships for mountain goats in the Cascades. Melissa Oscarson developed a simulation model to track the population dynamics of an introduced mountain goat population in the Olympic Mountains from the 1920s to the present. The work on mountain goats has been a collaborative effort with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Sauk Suiattle Indian Tribe, and several other tribes. As part of this project, I have employed over 50 undergraduate interns over the past decade. One of these interns, Colin Shanley, published an article in Nature Photographer magazine describing his experience on some early parts of project (click here to view the article). The current focus of this work involves the translocation of mountain goats from the Olympic Mountains to the Cascades. This work is described here: (click here to view the article) and also in this brief video: (click here to view the video). I also have two former graduate students (Erica Capuana, Kari Secrest and Julia Tatum) who have used LIDAR and high-spatial resolution multispectral imagery to address questions related to the structure and composition of riparian forests. This work focuses on the potential of these forests to provide shade and woody debris that positively influences in stream conditions for salmon. Julia's field work is described here: (click here to view the article). As an extension of my interests in remote sensing, over the past few years I have also become interested in the use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for environmental research and monitoring. Two of my current students (Hannah Hein and Jacqui Bergner) are following up on previous work by Jefferson Emm to use sUAS to map eelgrass in nearshore marine environments (click here to view an article about Jefferson's work)(click here to view a recent article about Hannah's work). Finally, I have a continuing interest in the effects of land management on the carbon budget of Pacific Northwest forests.

Current Graduate Students


Completed Masters Thesis Projects

  • ·Jacqui Bergner, M.S. WWU Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, Completed 6/23; Evaluating Climate Change Impacts on Seasonal and Interannual Dynamics of Native and Non-native Eelgrass in Padilla Bay with Unoccupied Aerial System Imagery and Long-Term Monitoring Data (Thesis Upload Pending)

  • Hannah Hein, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 5/22; Unmanned Aerial Systems to monitor eelgrass communities in nearshore marine environments (Currently employment: Remote Sensing Test Specialist, Grover Consulting Services) (View Full Thesis)

  • Julia Tatum, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 6/21; Applying Airborne Laser Scanning to map Salmonid Habitat Suitability in the Nooksack River, Washington (Currently working on a Ph.D. at Northern Arizona University) (View Full Thesis)

  • Nathan Rice, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 11/17; Elk Abundance Estimation and Road Ecology in Whatcom and Skagit Counties, Washington. (Current employment: Envrionmental Consulting, Washington) (View Full Thesis)

  • Melissa Oscarson, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 8/17; Simulation Modeling of Population Expansion for Introduced Mountain Goats in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. (Current employment: Woodring College of Education, WWU) (View Full Thesis)
  • Erica Capuana, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 11/13; Assessment of riparian conditions in the Nooksack River basin with the combination of LIDAR, multi-spectral imagery and GIS. (Current employment: Environmental Consulting, Vermont) (View Full Thesis)
  • Matt Warren, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 6/13; Cougar genetic variation and gene flow in a heterogeneous landscape: Washington and southern British Columbia. (Current employment: GIS Analyst at Idaho Dept. of Water Resources) (View preliminary results presented at Wildlife Society Meeting, February, 2013) (View Full Thesis)
  • Leslie Parks, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 12/12; Gene flow and habitat connectivity for mountain goats in the Washington Cascades and southern British Columbia. (Current employment: Wildlife Biologist, Swinomish Tribal Nation, Washington)(View Full Thesis)
  • Tana Beus, M.S. WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 7/10; Habitat Modeling Using Path Analysis: Delineating Mountain Goat Habitat in the Washington Cascades(Current employment: Health Sciences, Washington)  (View Full Thesis)
  • Andrew Shirk, M.S.,  WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 5/09; Mountain Goat Genetic Structure, Molecular Diversity, and Gene Flow in the Cascade Range, Washington. (Currently employment: Research Scientist for the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington) (View Full Thesis)
  • Tzeidle Wasserman, M.S., Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 3/08; Gene flow and habitat relationships of Marten (Martes americana) and Fisher (Martes pennanti) in Northern Idaho. (Completed Ph.D. in 2014 at Northern Arizona University, currently working there as a Postdoc) (View Full Thesis)
  • Kari Secrest, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Geography, completed 2/07; Use of high resolution multispectral imagery and LIDAR to map riparian vegetation. (Current employment: Skagit County; Geographic Information Services) (View Abstract) (View Full Thesis)
  • Adam Wells, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 7/06; Habitat relationships for Mountain Goats in the North Cascades of Washington State. (Completed a Ph.D. at the University of Idaho in June 2012) (Current employment: Research Associate, Washington State University, Vancouver) (View Abstract) (View Full Thesis)
  • Kari Odden, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 11/04; Landuse effects on stream temperatures in Western Washington. (Current employment: Skagit Land Trust)
  • Lise Grace, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 7/03; Mapping Bald Eagle communal night roosts habitat in Northwest Washington using satellite imagery.  (Current employment: North Cascades National Park) (View Abstract)  (View Full Thesis)
  • Misty Tyler, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 6/03; Coral reef habitat mapping using IKONOS satellite imagery.  (Current employment: Teacher)
  • Natalya V. Antonova, M.S.,  WWU, Huxley College, Geography, completed 12/00; Mapping potential habitat for the Ferruginous Hawk in Utah using satellite remote sensing.  (Current employment: North Cascades National Park) (View Abstract)  (View Full Thesis)
  • Diane Rangaard, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 2/99; Effects of forest roads on small mammal and amphibian habitat connectivity. (Current employment: Teacher)
  • Andrew Boyce, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Geography, completed 6/99; Rates and patterns of disturbance in forests of Washington and British Columbia. (Current employment: Private Environmental Consulting, Vermont) (View Full Thesis)
  • John Foster, M.S., OSU, Forest Science, completed 6/99; Fire history of the Cherry Creek Basin Research Natural Area. (Current employment: The Nature Conservancy, Seattle, WA)
  • Sally Manifold, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 6/99; Factors influencing avian nesting success in greenway corridors. (Most recent employment: Greenways Coordinator, Bellingham Parks and Recreation; currently retired)
  • William Richards, M.S., WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 10/98; Analysis of patterns of vertebrate diversity in Pacific Northwest forests. (Current employment: Wildlife Biologist, Cedar River Watershed, City of Seattle)
  • Sam Cushman, M.S.,  WWU, Huxley College, Environmental Sciences, completed 10/97; Analysis of landscape patterns and rates of landscape change in Russian far east using satellite remote sensing. (Completed a Ph.D. at the U. of Massachusetts in 2003. Current employment: Research Scientist, US Forest Service, Missoula, Montana)
  • Christopher S. Purnell, M.S., Oregon State University, Geosciences, completed 6/94; Analysis of riparian vegetation and land use in the Oregon Cascades using Landsat TM data.  (deceased)


also see Google Scholar Profile

·Tatum, J. , D.O. Wallin, 2021. Using discrete-point LiDAR to classify tree species in the riparian Pacific Northwest, USA. Remote Sensing, 13(14) 2647; doi.org/10.3390/rs13142647

·Fallabella, A.D. , D.O. Wallin, J.A. Lund. 2018. Application of a customizable sensor platform to detection of atmospheric gases by UAS. International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS) Dallas, TX, USA, June 12-15, 2018

·Warren, M.J. , D.O. Wallin, R.A. Beausoleil, K.I. Warheit. 2016. Forest cover mediates genetic connectivity of northwestern cougars. Conservation Genetics (published online April 16, 2016) DOI: 10.1007/s10592-016-0840-7

·Parks, L.C., D.O. Wallin, S.A. Cushman, B.H. McRae. 2015. Landscape-level analysis of mountain goat population connectivity in Washington and southern British Columbia. Conservation Genetics (published online June 2, 2015) DOI: 10.1007/s10592-015-0732-2

·Wells., A.G., C.C. Blair, E.O. Garton, C.G. Rice, J.S. Horne, J.L. Rachlow, D.O. Wallin. 2014. The Brownian bridge synoptic model of habitat selection and space use for animals using GPS telemetry dataEcological Modeling 273:242-250. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.11.008

·Wasserman, T.N., S.A. Cushman, D.O. Wallin, J. Hayden.  2012. Multi Scale Habitat Relationships of Martes americana  in Northern Idaho, U.S.A. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station Research Paper, RMRS-RP-94, May 2012.

·Wells, A.G., D.O. Wallin, C.G. Rice and W-Y Chang.  2011. GPS Bias Correction and Habitat Selection by Mountain Goats Remote Sensing 3:435-459; doi:10.3390/rs3030435

·Shirk, A.J., D.O. Wallin, S.A. Cushman, C.G. Rice and K.I. Warheit.  2010. Inferring landscape effects on gene flow: a new model selection framework. Molecular Ecology  19:3603-3619.

·Wasserman, T.N., S.A. Cushman, M.K. Schwartz and D.O. Wallin.  2010.  . Spatial scaling and multi-model inference in landscape genetics: Martes americana in northern IdahoLandscape Ecology. Published online 29 August 2010.  doi:10.1007/s10980-010-9525-7

·Schroeder, T.A., A. Gray, M.E. Harmon, D.O. Wallin, W.B. Cohen.  2008.  Estimating live forest carbon dynamics with a Landsat-based curve-fitting approach.   J. of Applied Remote Sensing Vol. 2,023519 (9 May 2008) [DOI: 10.1117/1.2937821]

·Wallin, D.O., M.E. Harmon, W.B. Cohen (in press).  Modeling regional-scale carbon dynamics in Pacific Northwest forests: 1972-95  Pages xx-xx In: O. Krankina and M.E. Harmon (eds.) Carbon Dynamics of Two Forest Regions: Northwestern Russian and the Pacific Northwest.  Springer-Verlag, New York

·Call, K.A., J.T. Hardy and D.O. Wallin. 2003. Coral reef habitat discrimination using multivariate spectral analysis and satellite remote sensing. International Journal of Remote Sensing 24(13):2627-2639.

·Richards, W.H., D.O. Wallin, and N.H. Schumaker.  2002.  An analysis of late-seral forest connectivity in western Oregon. Conservation Biology  16(5):1409-1421.

·Cushman, S.A. and D.O. Wallin. 2002.  Separating the effects of environmental, spatial and disturbance factors of forest community structure in the Russian Far East.  Forest Ecology and Management 168(1-3):201-215.

·Urban, D.L., and D.O. Wallin. 2001. Models of landscape change.  Pages 35-48 In: Gergel, S.E. and M.G. Turner (eds.). Learning landscape ecology: a practical guide to concepts and techniques. Springer-Verlag, New York.  ISBN 0-387-95254-3

·Cushman, S.A. and D.O. Wallin. 2000. Rates and patterns of landscape change in the central Sikhote-alin Mountains, Russian far east. Landscape Ecology 15(7):643-659.

·Cissel, J.H., D. O. Wallin and others.  1998.  A landscape plan based on historical fire regimes for a managed forest ecosystem: the Augusta Creek study. USDA For. Ser. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW‑GTR‑422.  Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Portland, OR.

·Zheng, D., D.O. Wallin and Z. Hao. 1997. Use of remote sensing to detect rates and patterns of landscape change in the Changbai Mountain area of China and Korea: 1972-1988. Landscape Ecology 12(4): 241-254.

·Wallin, D.O., Harmon, M.E., Cohen, W.B., Fiorella, M. and Ferrell, W.K. 1996. Use of remote sensing to model land use effects on carbon flux in forests of the Pacific Northwest, USA. -- Pages 219-237 In: Gholz, H.L., Nakane, K. and Shimoda, H. (eds). The use of remote sensing in the modeling of forest productivity at scales from the stand to the globe. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN 0-7923-4278-X

·Wallin, D.O., F.J. Swanson, B. Marks, J. Kertis and J. Cissel. 1996. Comparison of managed and pre-settlement landscape dynamics in forests of the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.. Forest Ecology and Management 85:291- 310.

·Cohen, W.B., D.O. Wallin, M.E. Harmon and M. Fiorella. 1996. Estimated carbon flux between 1972 and 1991 from forests of the pacific northwest region of the United States.  Bioscience 46(11):836- 844.

·Cohen, W.B., T.A. Spies, F.J. Swanson and D.O. Wallin. 1995. Land cover on the western slopes of the central Oregon Cascade Range. International Journal of Remote Sensing 16:595-596.

·Wallin, D.O., F.J. Swanson and B. Marks. 1994. Landscape pattern response to changes in the pattern-generation rules: land-use legacies in forestry. Ecological Applications 4(3):569-580.

·Cohen, W.B., P. Sollins, P. Homann, W.K. Ferrell, M.E. Harmon, D.O. Wallin, and M. Fiorella. 1994. Using a GIS to model effects of land use on carbon storage in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, USA. Pages 483 495 In: Environmental Information Management and Analysis: Ecosystem to Global Scales, W.K. Mitchener, J.W. Brunt and S.G. Stafford, (eds.), Taylor and Francis, Bristol, PA.

·Swanson, F.J., J.A. Jones, D.O. Wallin and J. Cissel. 1993. Natural variability: Implications for ecosystem management. Pages 89-103 In: Jensen, M.E. and Bourgeron, P.S. (eds.) Eastside forest ecosystem health assessment Volume II: Ecosystem management: principles and applications. Portland, OR: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.

·Marquet, P., S. Bollens, J. Clark, M. J. Fortin, C.M. Jacobi, J. Pineda, D.O. Wallin and Y. Wu. 1993. The ecological and evolutionary consequences of patchiness: a marine terrestrial perspective. Pages 277-304 In: Patch Dynamics, Volume 96: Lecture Notes in Biomathematics, S. Levin, T. Powell, J. Steele (eds.), Springer Verlag, New York.

·Cohen, W.B., D.O. Wallin, M.E. Harmon, P. Sollins, C. Daly, and W.K. Ferrell. 1992. Modeling the effect of land use on carbon storage in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. (invited paper) Pages 1023-1026 In: Proceedings of the International Geosciences and Remote Sensing Symposium, IEEE Catalog #92CH3041 1.

·Wallin, D.O., C.C.H. Elliott, H.H. Shugart, C.J. Tucker and F. Wilhelmi. 1992. Satellite remote sensing of breeding habitat for an African weaver-bird. Landscape Ecology 7(2):87-99.

·Urban, D.L., A.J. Hansen, D.O. Wallin and P.J. Halpin. 1992. Life history attributes and avian diversity: scaling implications for global change. (invited paper) Pages 173-195 In: O.T. Solbrig, H.M. van Emden and P.G.W.J. van Oordt (eds.). Biodiversity and Global Change, Monograph No. 8, International Union of Biological Sciences, Paris, France.