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Mark Jason Lara

Assistant Professor


My research strives to advance our understanding of how Arctic and Boreal (permafrost landscapes) ecosystems have/will respond to climate change and disturbance (permafrost degradation, wildfire, & herbivory). Ecosystem responses to such events are complicated, varying quite dramatically over space and time. Therefore, my research focuses on disentangling this ecological puzzle using a multi-scale observation trifecta (ground-based monitoring, aerial/satellite remote sensing, and empirical/machine-learning/process-based modeling).

Research Interests

Geographic Information Science; GIS and Society; Space-Time Analytics; River, Watershed, and Landscape Dynamics


  • Ph.D. University of Texas at El Paso

Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, Plant Biology
Assistant Professor, Geography and Geographic Information Science

Highlighted Publications

Chen, Y., Lara, M. J., & Hu, F. S. (2020). A robust visible near-infrared index for fire severity mapping in Arctic tundra ecosystems. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 159, 101-113.

Natali, S. M., Watts, J. D., Rogers, B. M., Potter, S., Ludwig, S. M., Selbmann, A. K., Sullivan, P. F., Abbott, B. W., Arndt, K. A., Birch, L., Björkman, M. P., Bloom, A. A., Celis, G., Christensen, T. R., Christiansen, C. T., Commane, R., Cooper, E. J., Crill, P., Czimczik, C., ... Zona, D. (2019). Large loss of CO2 in winter observed across the northern permafrost region. Nature Climate Change, 9(11), 852-857.

Lara, M. J., Lin, D. H., Andresen, C., Lougheed, V. L., & Tweedie, C. E. (2019). Nutrient Release From Permafrost Thaw Enhances CH4 Emissions From Arctic Tundra Wetlands. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 124(6), 1560-1573.

Lara, M. J., Chipman, M. L., & Hu, F. S. (2019). Automated detection of thermoerosion in permafrost ecosystems using temporally dense Landsat image stacks. Remote Sensing of Environment, 221, 462-473.

Lara, M. J., Nitze, I., Grosse, G., Martin, P., & David McGuire, A. (2018). Reduced arctic tundra productivity linked with landform and climate change interactions. Scientific Reports, 8(1), Article 2345.

Salmon, V. G., Breen, A. L., Kumar, J., Lara, M. J., Thornton, P. E., Wullschleger, S. D., & Iversen, C. M. (2019). Alder distribution and expansion across a tundra hillslope: implications for local N cycling. Frontiers in Plant Science, 10, Article 1099.

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Recent Publications

Chen, Y., Kelly, R., Genet, H., Lara, M. J., Chipman, M. L., McGuire, A. D., & Hu, F. S. (2022). Resilience and sensitivity of ecosystem carbon stocks to fire-regime change in Alaskan tundra. Science of the Total Environment, 806, Article 151482.

Hall, E. C., & Lara, M. J. (2022). Multisensor UAS mapping of Plant Species and Plant Functional Types in Midwestern Grasslands. Remote Sensing, 14(14), Article 3453.

Heijmans, M. M. P. D., Magnússon, R., Lara, M. J., Frost, G. V., Myers-Smith, I. H., van Huissteden, J., Jorgenson, M. T., Fedorov, A. N., Epstein, H. E., Lawrence, D. M., & Limpens, J. (2022). Tundra vegetation change and impacts on permafrost. Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, 3(1), 68-84.

Blunden, J., Boyer, T., Dunn, R. J. H., Allen, J., Andersen, A., Hammer, G., Love-Brotak, S. E., Misch, D. J., Riddle, D. B., Veasey, S. W., Ades, M., Adler, R., Aldred, F., Allan, R. P., Allan, R., Anderson, J., Argüez, A., Arosio, C., Augustine, J. A., ... Zhu, Z. (2021). State of the climate in 2020. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 102(8), 1-481.

Chen, Y., Hu, F. S., & Lara, M. J. (2021). Divergent shrub-cover responses driven by climate, wildfire, and permafrost interactions in Arctic tundra ecosystems. Global change biology, 27(3), 652-663.

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