Professor (Ph.D. University of Oregon, 2002), Chair and RED Lab Director -- paleoecology, fire history, climate change.



  • Office: Bldg 73 Room 205
  • e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • phone: 801-585-5729 (office)  801-585-7156 (lab)

Research Interests:

  • Paleoecology
  • Climate Change
  • Disturbance Ecology (beetles & fire)
  • Desert Wetlands
  • Land Management



My research focuses on reconstructions of past environments with particular interest in projects with management applications. These projects include reconstructions of fire and vegetation regimes from sedimentary deposits, studying past bark beetle outbreaks in the mountain west, studies of southwestern desert wetlands (ciénegas), and human paleoecology.


My passion in teaching is educating students about the science of climate change.


  • Ph.D. - Physical Geography: Paleoecology University of Oregon (2002)
  • Master of Science - Quaternary Studies: Paleoecology, Northern Arizona University (1997)
  • Bachelor of Science - Environmental Science: Geology, Northern Arizona University (1993)

Courses Taught:

  • Too Hot to Think: The Science, Challenges and Opportunities of Climate Change (BUS 3840)
  • Introduction to Environmental Science and Sustainability (ENVST 2050)
  • Global Climate Change (Geog 3210/5210)
  • Pyrogeography: Fire, Humans, and the Environment (Geog 3230/5230)
  • Popular Literature on Global Change: A Geographic Perspective (GEOG 5460/6460)
  • Pollen Analysis (Geog 5420/6420)


  • The University of Utah RED (Records of Environment and Disturbance) Lab
  • UMNH Garrett Herbarium


  • *Morris, J.L., *Watt, J., Courtney Mustaphi D.J., *Carter, V., Derr, K., Brunelle, A. and Anderson, R.S. (2014).  Do bark beetle remains in lake sediments correspond to severe outbreaks? A review of published and ongoing work. Quaternary International
  • Brunelle, A., Minckley, T., Delgadillo, J. and *Blissett, S. (2014).  A long-term perspective on woody plant encroachment in the desert southwest, New Mexico, USA.  Journal of Vegetation Science 25, 829-838.
  • *Carter, V., Brunelle, A., Minckley, T., Dennison, P. (2013).  Regionalization of fire regimes in the Intermountain West, USA.  Quaternary Research 80:406-416.
  • *Nishizawa, S.  Currey, D.R.,  Brunelle, A. and Sack, D.  (2013).  Bonneville basin shoreline records of large lake events in Marine Isotope Stages 3 and 2.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
  • *Morris, J., le Roux, P., *Macharia, A., Brunelle, A., Hebertson, E., and *Lundeen, Z.  (2013).  Organic, elemental, and geochemical contributions to lake sediment deposits during severe spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) disturbances.  Forest Ecology and Management.
  • Brunelle, A., Minckley, T., Lips, E., and Burnett, P.  (In Press).  An environmental history from a high elevation lake basin in the intermountain West: Little Brooklyn Lake, WY.  Journal of Quaternary Science.
  • *Lundeen, Z.,Brunelle, A., Burns, S.J., Asmerom, Y., Polyak, V., (2013). Holocene Paleoclimate from a Northern Wasatch Mountains Speleothem: Season Specific Insight into the Hydroclimatic History of the Great Salt Lake Basin.  Quaternary International.
  • *Morris J., Brunelle, A., DeRose, R.J., Seppä, H., Power, M.J., *Carter,V., and *Bares, R. (2013). Using quantitative fire regime zones on a high-resolution lake sediment record from southwestern Utah, USA. Quaternary Research 79:24-36.
  • *Morris, J.L., Brunelle, A.,  Munson, A.S., Spencer, J., and Power, M.J.  (2012). Holocene vegetation and fire reconstructions from the Aquarius Plateau, Utah, USA.  Quaternary International.
  • *Nishizawa, S., Currey, D., Brunelle, A, and Sack, D.  (2012).  Bonneville basin shoreline records of a large lake during Marine Isotope Stage 16.  Quaternary Science Reviews 58:1-6.
  • *Morris, J. and Brunelle, A.  (2012).  Pollen accumulation in lake sediments during historic spruce beetle disturbances in subalpine forests of southern Utah, USA.  The Holocene, doi: 10.1177/0959683612437870.
  • Minckley, T., Brunelle, A., and *Blissett, S.  (2011)  Holocene sedimentary and environmental history of an in-channel wetland along the ecotone of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Desert grasslands.  Quaternary International.   235, 40-47.
  • Dennison, P., Brunelle, A., and *Carter, V. (2010).  Assessing canopy mortality during a mountain pine beetle outbreak using GeoEye-1 high spatial resolution satellite data.  Remote Sensing of Environment 114 (2010) 2431–2435.
  • *Patrickson, S., Sack, D., Brunelle, A. and Moser, K. (2010).  Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene Lake Level and Paleoclimate Insights from, Stansbury Island, Bonneville Basin, Utah.  Quaternary Research 73, 237-246.
  • *Morris, J., Brunelle, A., Munson, A.S.  (2010).  Pollen Evidence of Late Holocene Disturbance on the Wasatch Plateau, Utah.  Western North American Naturalist 70(2):175-188.
  • Brunelle, A., Minckley, T., *Blissett, S., *Cobabe, S.  and *Guzman, B., (2010).  An 8000 year fire history of a southwestern U.S. desert wetland. Journal of Arid Environments 74: 475-481.
  • Minckley, T.A., M.Clementz, A.R. Brunelle, and G.A. Minckley.  (2009). Isotopic analysis of wetland development in the American Southwest.  The Holocene 19: 737-745.
  • Marlon, J.,  Bartlein, P.,  Walsh, M.,  Harrison, S., Brown, K.,  Edwards, M., Higuera, P., Power, M., Whitlock, C., Anderson, R. S.,  Briles, C.,  Brunelle, A.,  Carcaillet, C.,  Daniels, M, Hu, F., Lavoie, M., Long, C., Minckley, T., Richard, P.,  Shafer, D., Tinner, W., Umbanhower, C. Jr. (2009).  Wildfire responses to abrupt climate change in North America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106, 2519-2524.
  • Whitlock, C., Bartlein, P.J., Briles, C., Brunelle, A., Long, C., and Marlon, J. (2008).  Long-term relations between fire, fuel, and climate in the northwestern U.S.  International Journal of Wildland Fire 17, 72-83.
  • Power, M.J., Ortiz, N., Marlon, J., Bartlein, P.J., Harrison, S.P., Mayle, F.,  Ballouche, A., Bradshaw, R., Carcaillet, C., Cordova, C., Mooney, S., Moreno, P., Prentice, I.C., Thonicke, K., Tinner, W., Whitlock, C., Zhang, Y., Zhao, Y., Anderson, R.S., Beer, R., Behling, H., Briles, C., Brown, K., Brunelle A, Bush, M., Clark, J., Colombaroli, D., Daniels, M., Dodson, J., Edwards, M.E., Fisinger, W., Gavin, D.G., Gobet, E., Hallett, D.J., Higuera, P., Horn, S., Inoue, J., Kaltenreider, P., Kennedy, L., Kong, Z.C., Long, C., Lynch, J., Lynch, B., McGlone, M., Meeks, S., Meyer, G., Minckley, T., Mohr, J, Noti, R., Pierce, J., Richard, P., Shuman, B.J., Takahara, H., Toney, J., Turney, C., Umbanhower, C., Vandergoes, M., Vanniere, B., Walsh, M., Wang, X., Williams, N., Wilmshurst, J., Zhang , J.H. (2008).  Changes in fire activity since the LGM: an assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data.  Climate Dynamics 30(7-8): 887-907.
  • Brunelle, A., Rehfeldt, J., Bentz, B., and Munson, S. (2008).  Holocene records of Mountain Pine Beetle infestation in the U.S. Northern Rocky Mountains.  Forest Ecology and Management 255,836-846.
  • Brunelle, A.  (2007). Evidence of the Younger Dryas chronozone from paleoecological records of the northern Rocky Mountains.  Current Research in the Pleistocene 24, 1-3.
  • *Patrickson, S., and Brunelle, A. (2007). A Summary of Climate Change in The Great Basin: With Emphasis on The Bonneville Basin (28 Ka - Present). Nevada Archeologist 22, 49-56.
  • Minckley, T.A., and Brunelle, A. (2007).  Paleohydrology and growth of a desert ciénega.  Journal of Arid Environments 69, 420-431.
  • Kim, T., Cova, T., and Brunelle, A.  (2006). Exploratory Map Animation for Post-Event Analysis of Wildfire Protective Action Recommendations.  Natural Hazards Review 7, 1-11.
  • Brunelle, A., Whitlock, C., Bartlein, P.J. , and Kipfmueller, K. (2005).  Holocene fire and vegetation along environmental gradients in the Northern Rocky Mountains.  Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 2281-2300.
  • Brunelle, A., and Whitlock, C.  (2003).  Postglacial Fire, Vegetation, and Climate History in the Clearwater Range, Northern Idaho, USA.  Quaternary Research60, 307-318.
  • Brunelle, A., and Anderson, R.S. (2003).  Sedimentary charcoal as an indicator of Late-Holocene drought in the Sierra Nevada, California, and its relevance to the future.  The Holocene13, 21-28.
  • Mock, C.J., and Brunelle-Daines, A. R.  (1999).  A modern analogue of western United States summer palaeoclimate at 6000 years before present.  The Holocene9, 541-545.