Geography Profile
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Phone: 979.845.2783
Fax: 979.862.4487
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Texas A&M University
O&M Building 706A
MS 3147,
College Station, Texas 77843


  • GEOG 203 - Planet Earth: Introduction to Earth System Science
  • GEOG 325 - Geography of Europe
  • GEOG 335 - Pattern and Process in Biogeography
  • GEOS 411 - Vegetation Response to Climate Change
  • GEOG 435 - Plant Geography
  • GEOG 450 - Field Geography
  • GEOG 624 - Biogeography: Theory & Methods
  • GEOG 652 - Quantitative Methods in Geography

Recent Graduates:

Tynan Granberg, M.S.

Daehyun Kim,. Ph.D.

Dianna Gielstra, Ph.D.

Amanda Young, M.S.

John Waldron, Ph.D.

Dr. David M. Cairns

Department Head and Professor

Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1995

M.S., University of Florida, 1991

B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1989


Dr. Cairns' research concentrates on the impacts of climate change on vegetation at short and long time scales in a variety of environments.  He has worked extensiviely at ecotones, the transion zones between different vegetation types.  Most of his work has been accomplished at treelines in the western United States, Alaska  and in northern Sweden.  He also has projects in two other sensitive environments: saltmarshes on the coasts of Denmark and Texas, and in tundra environments on the North Slope of Alaska.  He utilizes a variety of methods to answer questions pertinent to the response of these environments to climate change including: population genetics, dendroecological methods and simulation modeling. 

Research Projects

  • A population genetics based analysis of dispersal at alpine treeline
  • Modeling patch-scale expansion of arctic shrubs
  • Influences of herbivory on treeline under changing climate
  • The utility of salt marsh vegetation as an indicator of climate change at short and long time scales
  • Forest restoration planning and assessment for the southern pine beetle and other invasive pest species

Selected Publications

  • Kim, D., W.E. Grant, D.M. Cairns, and J. Bartholdy. (2013).  Effects of wind-driven sea-level variation on salt marsh dynamics: A quantitative model as proof of concept.  Geo-Marine Letters 33: 253-261.
  • Kim, D., D.M. Cairns, and J. Bartholdy. (2013).  Tidal creek morphology and sediment type influence spatial trends in salt marsh vegetation.  Professional Geographer 65: 544-560.
  • Johnson, J.S., D.M. Cairns, and C. Houser. (2013).  Coastal marsh vegetation assemblages of Galveston Bay: Insights for the East Texas Chenier Plain.  Wetlands 33: 861-870.
  • Kim, D., Cairns, D.M., Bartholdy, J., & Morgan, C.L.S., (2012) Scale-dependent correspondence of floristic and edaphic gradients across salt marsh creeks, Annals of the Association of American Geographers. DOI:10.1080/00045608.2011.620520
  • Cairns, D.M., Lafon, C.W., Mouton, M.F., Stuteville, R.L., Young, A.B., and Moen, J. (2012) Comparing two methods for ageing trees with suppressed, diffuse-porous rings (Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovii).  Dendrochronologia. 30: 252-256.
  • Naito, A.T. and Cairns, D.M. (2011) Relationships between arctic shrub dynamics and topographically-derived hydrologic characteristics.  Environmental Research Letters 6:045506.  DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/045506.
  • Naito, A.T. and Cairns, D.M. (2011). Patterns and processes of global shrub expansion. Progress in Physical Geography 35:423-442.
  • Young, A.B., Cairns, D.M., Lafon, C.W., Moen, J., Martin, L.E. (2011) Dendroclimatic relationships and possible implications for mountain birch and Scots pine at treeline in northern Sweden through the 21st century.Canadian Journal of Forest Research 41: 450-459.
  • Kim, D., Cairns, D.M., and Bartholdy, J. (2011) Wind-driven sea-level variation influences dynamics of salt marsh vegetation.Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101: 231-238.
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