Degree(s) Held:John Wendt

B.S. magna cum laude in Rangeland Ecology, concentration in Restoration Ecology, minor in Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, 2016

Degree Sought:

Ph.D., Earth Sciences


Dave McWethy

Email Address:

[email protected]

Title of Research Project:

 Reconstructing multitrophic ecosystem dynamics at forest-grassland ecotones with molecular biomarkers

Project Summary:

I am interested in exploring how disturbance from herbivory and fire influence long-term ecosystem dynamics. My current research focuses on the development of biogeochemical tools to reconstruct population dynamics of herbivores from lake sediment cores. To improve our understanding of how changing climate, disturbance regimes, and human land uses influence vegetation dynamics, I am developing Holocene records of pollen, charcoal, and molecular biomarkers for a low-montane site in Montana’s Mission Valley. I am also parameterizing a physiological grazer population module for integration into a broader modeling effort that will explore how ecosystems in the Northern Great Plains respond to changing biophysical conditions.

Research & Professional Experience:

GIS Specialist, Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands, Colorado State University, 2018

  • Performed quality control and validation for US Air Force environmental GIS databases

Rangeland Technician, Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc., Belgrade, Montana, 2016-2017

  • Conducted rangeland vegetation and soil surveys following National Resources Inventory (NRI) and Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) protocol at over 200 sites throughout Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and Nevada

Honors Undergraduate Thesis, Restoration Ecology Lab, Colorado State University, 2013-2016

  • Explored the relationship between stand age and soil seed bank characteristics in lodgepole pine stands in Rocky Mountain National Park with Dr. Mark Paschke

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Rangeland Social-Ecological Systems Lab, Colorado State University, 2014-2016

  • Assisted Dr. Hailey Wilmer in a study on the collaborative adaptive management process in a rangeland context

Field Technician, Rangeland Social-Ecological Systems Lab, Colorado State University, Summer 2015

  • Supported postgraduate research on greater sage grouse habitat, aspen decline, and soil nitrogen-plant community feedbacks

Independent Study Project, School for International Training, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Spring 2015

  • Studied the implementation of a community-based riparian conservation plan in a rural herding and logging community with Dr. Batkhishig Baival

Herbarium Assistant, CSU Herbarium, Colorado State University, 2013-2015

  • Developed 1) a novel image-based plant identification web-portal and 2) a plant characteristic database for all Colorado plant species with Jennifer Ackerfield

Field Botanist, Knapp Lab, Colorado State University, Summer 2013

  • Supported research on the impact of increased nitrogen deposition on mixed grass prairie plant communities in Wind Cave and Badlands National Parks with Dr. Amy Symstad

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Restoration Ecology Lab, Colorado State University, 2012-2013

  • Facilitated restoration studies on grasshopper herbivory, revegetation plantings, seed banks, and post-disturbance dynamics

Biological Science Aid, Rocky Mountain National Park, Summer 2012

  • Assisted postgraduate research on cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) response to manipulated soil carbon and nitrogen levels


Wendt, J.A.F., Paschke, M.W. Temporal variability of soil seed banks in lodgepole pine forests. Journal of Undergraduate Research. (In press).


Grasslands Graduate Group. 2019. Rangelands in transition: Key feedbacks & knowledge gaps in a Central Montana case study. Montana Institute on Ecosystems Rough Cut Seminar Series. April 17, 2019. Bozeman, MT. Oral presentation.

McWethy, D., Alt, M., Wendt, J., Kichas, N., Billman, P. 2019. Earth, wind, and fire: Ecosystem response to disturbance, climate variability, and human impacts. Montana Institute on Ecosystems Rough Cut Seminar Series. February 20, 2019. Bozeman, MT. Oral presentation.

Wendt, J.A.F., Paschke, M.W. 2017. Temporal variability of soil seed banks in lodgepole pine forests. HAR-CeRSER 2017 Conference. March 7-9, 2017. Fort Collins, CO. Poster presentation.

Wendt, J. 2016. The restoration process: lessons from a community-based conservation initiative in Tunkhel, Mongolia. Front Range Student Ecology Symposium. February 23-24, 2016. Fort Collins, CO. Poster presentation.


  • Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) award, Joint Fire Science Program, 2019, $24,000
  • Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant, American Museum of Natural History, 2019

Honors & Awards:

  • R. and Virginia D. Pulliam Scholarship, 2016
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, 2015
  • Office of International Programs Undergraduate Education Abroad Scholarship, 2015
  • Foundation for Global Scholars Colorado Universities Scholarship, 2015
  • SIT Affiliate Scholarship, 2015
  • William (Mike) Fenner `54 Scholarship, 2014
  • Great Lakes National Scholarship, 2013-2015
  • College Access Challenge Grant Scholarship, 2013
  • Colonel Marvin & Joye Parker Scholarship, 2013
  • Warner College of Natural Resources General Scholarship, 2013
  • NSF REU Grant Supplement, 2012
  • University Honors Program Scholarship, 2011-2015
  • Chick-fil-A Leadership Scholarship, 2011
  • Warner College of Natural Resources Dean’s Honor Roll, 2011-2015John Wendt