Dr. Kenneth L. Cole

Kenneth Cole 230pxResearch Professor


B.S. in Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, 1971
M.S. in Biology, California State University, 1974
Ph.D. in Geosciences, University of Arizona, 1981


Office: Merriam Powell Center for Environmental Research, room #314
Phone: (928) 523-2029
Email: ken.cole@nau.edu

Research Interests

Dr. Kenneth L. Cole specializes in research on vegetation and climate change, both in the past and in the future. His research involves many variables responsible for changing vegetation—climate, migration, grazing, fire, and soil development. His involvement with research in northern Arizona began in 1976 when he initiated research examining changes along Merriam-Powell climate and vegetation gradient over the last 30,000 years using plant macrofossils from Grand Canyon packrat middens. This interdisciplinary research has been classified as plant ecology, paleoecology, global change, Quaternary geology, fire ecology, and successional ecology.


Cole, Kenneth L., J. Fisher, K. Ironside, J. I. Mead, & P. Koehler. In Press, The biogeographic histories of Pinus edulis and P. monophylla over the last 40,000 years. Quaternary International.

Cole, Kenneth L., K. Ironside, J. Eischeid, G. Garfin, P. Duffy, and C. Toney. 2011. Past and ongoing shifts in Joshua Tree distribution support future modeled range contraction. Ecological Applications: 21: 137-149.

Cole, Kenneth L. 2010. Vegetation response to early Holocene warming, an analog for current and future changes. Conservation Biology 24:29-37

Garfin, G., J. K. Eischeid, M. Lenart, K. Cole, K. Ironside, & N. Cobb. 2010. Downscaling climate projections to model ecological change on topographically diverse landscapes of the arid southwestern U.S. Pages 22-43, In, C. van Riper, III, B. F. Wakeling; and T. D. Sisk, editors. The Colorado Plateau IV; Shaping Conservation Through Science and Management. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ. (ISBN 978-0-8165-2914-8).

Jessica F Fisher; Kenneth L. Cole; & R. Scott Anderson. 2009. Using packrat middens to assess grazing effects on vegetation change. Journal of Arid Environments. 73:937-948.

Coats, Larry L., Kenneth L. Cole, and Jim I. Mead. 2008. Middle Wisconsinan vegetation and climate history of the Colorado Plateau, Utah and Arizona, U.S.A. Quaternary Research 70: 322-338.

Cole, K. L., Jessa Fisher, Samantha Arundel, John Cannella, & Sandra Swift. 2008. Geographical and climatic limits of needle types of one- and two-needled pinyon pines, Journal of Biogeography 34: 257-269, with supplement.

Cole, Kenneth L., Kirsten Ironside, Samantha Arundel, Philip Duffy, & John Shaw. 2008. Modeling Future Plant Distributions on the Colorado Plateau: An Example Using Pinus edulis. In, van Riper, C., and Sogge, M., eds., The Colorado Plateau III: Cultural, Biological, and Physical Research: Tucson, University of Arizona Press.