Kyla Dahlin

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Me in 2007. But I think I look pretty much the same.

Hi Everyone!

I am a third-year PhD candidate at Stanford in the Biology Department's Ecology & Evolution track.

Email: kdahlin [at] stanford [dot] edu

My Homepage

Main Interests

I am interested in vegetation patterns and how these patterns change as we shift from a local to a global perspective. At the landscape scale, we know that vegetation patterns are controlled by a combination of environment, historical events, and population dynamics, but the relative importance of these three elements is hotly debated. Using emerging airborne remote sensing technologies I am working to identify and measure how plant structure and species composition vary within and between ecosystems and to develop models that quantify this variation. My doctoral research is based in California, where our distinctly “patchy” vegetation is ideal for addressing these questions. While there are theoretical aspects to my work, I am most interested in the implications for environmental restoration and climate change adaptation. In a rapidly changing world, understanding today’s ecosystems will help us better prepare for the future.

Side Interests

  • Climate change mitigation & adaptation
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Education
  • Non-academic: bicycling, running, knitting, yoga, gardening, cooking, art, modern literature, ponies...


I hopefully bring a useful combination of comfort/familiarity with math/stats/programming and a strong working knowledge of environmental management and problem-solving. While I enjoy theoretical challenges, I almost always first ask the question "How is this useful or relevant to real-world problems?" I am also really good at counting trees, but I'm not sure how helpful that will be here.

Hopes for CSSS?

I am, of course, excited about meeting new people and developing collaborations. Mostly, I would like to be exposed to as many tools as possible for addressing environmental challenges - I think there are lots of mathematical and statistical approaches out there that haven't quite made it to mainstream ecology. Yet.

Project ideas?

Hmmm... the two things I tend to think a lot about in my spare time are (1) the long-term impacts of human land-use on the environment (there have been a number of studies in the past couple of years indicating that a lot of the landscape patterns we see in "natural" environments are really human-driven) and (2) how generation time could/should be incorporated into our understanding of organisms' adaptive capacities. No idea how to attack either of these topics, but they are certainly complex.