Dr. Kyla Dahlin

Kyla  Dahlin
  • Associate Professor
  • Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences
  • Geography Building
  • 673 Auditorium Road, Room 121A
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • 517-353-9739


Landscape and plant ecology, remote sensing, Earth system modeling


Dr. Dahlin joined the MSU Geography faculty in January 2015. She earned her undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University, wherein a GIS course she discovered that she might be able to combine her loves of maps and trees into a viable career. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, then worked for several years managing trail and environmental restoration projects for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in San Francisco. She then returned to school, earning a Ph.D. from Stanford’s Biology department in 2012, with a focus on airborne remote sensing of California vegetation. After that, she began a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, where she used her remote sensing background to help constrain a land surface model. Outside of work, Dr. Dahlin enjoys spending time with her family, growing and making things, and riding bicycles.


Dr. Dahlin’s research aims to better understand and quantify ecosystem processes and disturbance responses through the application of emerging technologies, including air- and space-borne remote sensing, spatial statistics, and process-based modeling. She is currently interested in semi-arid forest/grassland transition zones, where vegetation patterns are readily observable but poorly understood.  Dr. Dahlin approaches questions by integrating observational data, modeling, and focused field experiments to both refine our understanding of ecosystem function and to improve our ability to predict how ecosystems and the climate will change in the future.