Timothy Kittel

Research Associate, INSTAAR

  • Faculty Director, Conservation Biology and Practice in Brazil's Atlantic Forest Global Seminar, Study Abroad Programs
  • Lecturer, CU Mountain Research Station
  • Graduate Faculty, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology



  • PhD Ecology: University of California, Davis, 1986

Contact Information


Global change biology and climate science.

Research Interests

Global Environmental Change—Conservation Planning in Context of Climate Change
Earth System Science—Terrestrial Biosphere-Climate Interactions
Climate Analysis—Climate Change in High Mountain Systems
Ecosystem Geography


Dr. Timothy Kittel is an ecologist and climate scientist with INSTAAR. He has over thirty years of professional research experience in global change science, with contributions to the science of climate-biosphere interaction, historical climatic change, and regional ecosystem and climate modeling. Dr. Kittel's work on climate change impacts has been included in IPCC and US National Assessments. His current research foci are on approaches for considering climate change uncertainty in biodiversity conservation planning and climate change in high mountain regions.  Dr. Kittel has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters in ecology and climate dynamics.

Dr. Kittel's teaching emphasizes field instruction in ecology and conservation biology.  He currently teaches Winter Field Ecology in the Rocky Mountains and study abroad courses on conservation in Latin America.



Research Statement

Research Highlights:

Active Research

Research Programs



Timothy Kittel{/exp:playa:children, 2013: The vulnerability of biodiversity to rapid climate change. In Seastedt, T. R. and Suding, K. (eds.), Vulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate, vol. 4 in Pielke, R. A., Sr. (series ed.), Climate Vulnerability: Understanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources. Oxford: Elsevier; Academic Press, 185-201. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384703-4.00437-8 Postprint (417 KB)

Timothy Kittel,Baker, B. B.,Higgins, J. V.,Haney, J. C, 2011: Climate vulnerability of ecosystems and landscapes on Alaska's North Slope. Regional Environmental Change, 11(suppl. 1): S249-S264. DOI: 10.1007/s10113-010-0180-y

{playawdC9uwDD:title},Rosenbloom, N.,Royle, J. A.,Daly, A. C.,Gibson, W. P.,Fisher, H. H.,Thornton, P.,Yates, D.,Aulenbach, S.,Kaufman, C.,McKeown, R.,Bachelet, D.,Schimel, D.,VEMAP2 Participant, 2004: VEMAP Phase 2 bioclimatic database. I. Gridded historical (20th century) climate for modeling ecosystem dynamics across the conterminous USA. Climate Research, 27(2): 151-170. Dataset access. DOI: 10.3354/cr027151

{playariyZXzRL:title},Mark Williams,Chowanski, K.,Hartman, M.,Ackerman, T.,Losleben, M.,Blanken, P. D, 2016: Contrasting long-term alpine and subalpine precipitation trends in a mid-latitude North American mountain system, Colorado Front Range, USA. Plant Ecology & Diversity, 8(5-6): 607-624. DOI: 10.1080/17550874.2016.1143536

Scott-Denton, L. E.,Moore, D. J. P.,Rosenbloom, N. A.,Timothy Kittel,Burns, S. P.,,Monson, R. K, 2013: Forecasting net ecosystem CO2 exchange in a subalpine forest using model data assimilation combined with simulated climate and weather generation. Journal of Geophysical Research—Biogeosciences, 118(2): 549-565. DOI: 10.1002/jgrg.20039

All publications by Timothy Kittel >


Teaching Statement

“A personal goal for me, as an instructor, is to foster familiarity with the nature of science.  There are many facets to understanding the world of science.  One is experiencing the process of accumulation and evaluation of scientific understanding – how do new ideas arise and how are they tested?  Another is developing the ability for independent thought, to be able to generate innovative ideas and to critically assess the results of others.  And finally, gaining what is often called a ‘sense of place,’ which is to say in this context, to start on the road to develop an intuitive, personal sense of how natural systems work.”

Winter Ecology - a field course at the Mountain Research Station

Wintertime offers insights into the natural history of organisms and function of ecosystems that are not often appreciated in summer visits to the field.  Winter Ecology is a survey of physical and biological processes and their interaction in wintertime snow-covered environments.  Through classwork, fieldwork, and individual projects, we will focus on the dynamics of high-elevation ecosystems in the western US.  Based out of the CU Mountain Research Station's year-round Science Lodge, we will spend 6 weekends exploring the ecology of upper montane, subalpine, and alpine landscapes in winter. We will study plant, vertebrate, and microbial adaptations to winter and the dynamics of terrestrial, aquatic, and snowpack environments.  We will consider how winter processes play a role in “growing season” dynamics, shape landscapes, and are important factors in conservation and management of natural resources of the Rocky Mountains.

Go to the course web site

Conservation Biology and Practice in Brazil's Atlantic Forest - study abroad field course

Study Abroad Global Seminar, 3 credits EBIO 4100, 13-30 May 2013

Conservation Biology & Practice in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest is held in a 'conservation crisis' setting -- the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil.  This ecoregion is a highly threatened center of faunal and floral biodiversity.  Because much of the forest is in human-dominated landscapes, successful conservation practice can only occur jointly with efforts to alleviate socioeconomic issues.  In two and a half weeks, the course offers you hands-on experience through on-going conservation programs that couple biological understanding with practice.  The course is based out of the educational facilities of the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPÊ), one of Brazil's largest environmental non-governmental organizations.  On a four-day field trip to the coast, you'll visit and learn about conservation in practice in the 1000-km long Serra do Mar Biodiversity Corridor.  For more information, see http://studyabroad.colorado.edu/?go=BrazilGS or email: studyabr@colorado.edu.  Additional details: Syllabus, Brochure (pdf, 500k), Presentation Slides (pdf, 2M).

Go to the course web site



A rap by two Antioch University New England students for an ecological dynamics of landscapes class.


Current Courses