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James C. Vandygriff



860 North 1200 East
Logan, UT 84321
Contact James C. Vandygriff

Current Research

As an Entomologist my major emphasis is to provide support to Rocky Mountain Research Station lab scientists and Entomologists for research on Western Bark Beetles. My specific responsibilities include the setup and maintenance of field research plots, supervision of field crews, collection of field data, upkeep and manipulation of current and historic data sets, setup and maintenance of various experiments conducted at the lab. While conducting research on bark beetles, I became particularly interested and proficient in the use, programming, and maintenance of Dataloggers and Weather Stations used for a variety of research throughout the West. In support of our research, I work continually with several software packages including ArcMap. Windows Excel and Access for database storage and manipulation, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe web products like Macromedia and Dreamweaver. Most summers are spent primarily in the field, supervising the initiation, setup, and collection of data for various bark beetle research projects. This often includes the supervision of seasonal employees.

Research Interests

Biology, ecology, and management of western bark beetles. I am particularly interested in high elevation pines, climate change, and increased vulnerability in these ecosystems to the threat of mountain pine beetle.


  • Utah State University, Logan, M.S., Forestry, 1995
  • Utah State University, Logan, B.S., Secondary Education / Biology, 1986
  • Utah State University, Logan, B.S., Forest Biology, 1983
  • Professional Experience

    Entomologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, (Logan, UT).
    2004 to present

    Biological ScienceTechnician, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, (Logan, UT).
    1999 to 2004

    Biological Technician, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, (Logan, UT).
    1992 to 1999

    Biological Technician, USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Protection (Odgen, UT)
    1988 to 1991

    Seasonal Technician, USDA Forest Service, Humbolt NF (Ely, NV), Dixie NF (Cedar City, UT), Wasatch NF (Salt Lake City, UT), and Uinta NF (Kamas, UT).
    1981 to 1987

    Featured Publications


    Hansen, Matt; Johnson, Morris; Bentz, Barbara J.; Vandygriff, James C.; Munson, A. Steven, 2019. Chapter 14: Impact of Bark Beetle Infestation on Fuel Loads and Fire Behavior in “Old-Stage” Southwestern Ponderosa Pine (Project INT-EM-F-12-02)
    Bentz, Barbara J.; Vandygriff, James C.; Jensen, Camille; Coleman, Tom; Maloney, Patricia; Smith, Sheri; Grady, Amanda; Schen-Langenheim, Greta, 2016. Chapter 15: Monitoring Mountain Pine Beetle Life Cycle Timing and Phloem Temperatures at Multiple Elevations and Latitudes in California(Project WC-EM-09-02)
    Bentz, Barbara J.; Hood, Sharon M.; Hansen, Matt; Vandygriff, James C.; Mock, Karen E., 2016. Defense traits in the long-lived Great Basin bristlecone pine and resistance to the native herbivore mountain pine beetle
    Bentz, Barbara J.; Vandygriff, James C.; Jensen, Camille; Coleman, Tom; Maloney, Patricia; Smith, Sheri; Grady, Amanda; Schen-Langenheim, Greta, 2014. Mountain pine beetle voltinism and life history characteristics across latitudinal and elevational gradients in the western United States
    Hansen, Matt; Bentz, Barbara J.; Powell, James A.; Gray, David R.; Vandygriff, James C., 2011. Prepupal diapause and instar IV developmental rates of the spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae)
    Bentz, Barbara J.; Logan, Jesse; MacMahon, Jim; Allen, Craig D.; Ayres, Matt; Berg, Ed; Carroll, Allan; Hansen, Matt; Hicke, Jeff; Joyce, Linda A.; Macfarlane, Wallace; Munson, Steve; Negron, Jose; Paine, Tim; Powell, Jim; Raffa, Ken; Regniere, Jacques; Reid, Mary; Romme, Bill; Seybold, Steven J.; Six, Diana; Tomback, Diana; Vandygriff, James C.; Veblen, Tom; White, Mike; Witcosky, Jeff; Wood, David, 2009. Bark beetle outbreaks in western North America: Causes and consequences
    Hansen, Matt; Bentz, Barbara J.; Munson, A. Steven; Vandygriff, James C.; Turner, David L., 2006. Evaluation of funnel traps for estimating tree mortality and associated population phase of spruce beetle in Utah
    Six pine beetles placed upon a penny
    The mountain pine beetle is the most notable killer of pines in western North America. Bristlecone pines grow at high elevations and are among the longest-lived conifers globally.  Although the bristlecone species Great Basin bristlecone and foxtail pine appear to be less preferred by mountain pine beetle and may not be suitable for mountain pine beetle offspring success, their close relative Rocky Mountain bristlecone is now a confirmed and suitable host. 
    A closeup photo of a mountain pine beetle.
    A generation time of 1 year is the most successful strategy for mountain pine beetle, a notable tree killer in the western U.S. However, generations time is dictated by temperature, which is changing globally. Because locally evolved adaptations in mountain pine beetle have resulted in strict physiological requirements for temperature regimes at specific times of the year, population persistence will be dependent on temperature changes that are not too hot, but just right.
    Great Basin bristlecone pine (GBBP) (Pinus longaeva) is a long-lived species found at high elevations in Utah, Nevada, and southeastern California (CA). 'Methuselah', a GBBP found in the White Mountains, CA, is the oldest known living non-clonal organism. Foxtail pine (FTP) (P.
    Mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, is the most significant disturbance agent in pine forests of western North America. Silvicultural treatments that reduce the number of susceptible host trees and alter age class distribution and species composition are considered viable options for reducing stand susceptibility to mountain pine beetle-caused mortality. Short-term efficacy of thinning treatments to reduce bark beetle-caused tree mortality has been evaluated, but long-term efficacy has not.

    National Strategic Program Areas: 
    Resource Management and Use
    RMRS Science Program Areas: 
    Forest and Woodland Ecosystems