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Jim Powell

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Mathematics and Statistics

Interim Department Head | Professor


Contact Information

Office Location: Animal Science (ANSC) 110
DialPhone: 435-797-2810

Educational Background

PhD, Applied Mathematics, University of Arizona, 1990
Nonlinear Fronts near a First-Order Phase Transition
BS, Mathematics, Colorado State University, 1985

Teaching Interests

Applied Mathematics (techniques, partial differential equations, asymptotic analysis, complex variables, differential equations) Alternative pedagogy: project-based learning, writing in mathematical education, Espresso math

Research Interests

Mathematical Fields: Applied Mathematics, Nonlinear Evolution PDE, Asymptotic Analysis, Dynamical Systems, Nonlinear Parameter estimation. Ecology: dispersal and demographics of organisms, evolution of phenology Entomology: predictive phenology and dynamic aspects of adaptations to the environment, Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), Mathematical Modeling: population dynamics, energetics of organisms, bird flight, industrial chemical reactions, market pricing of derivatives, evolution of quantitative traits... Continuum Physics: fluid mechanics, nonlinear optics


Lee Segel Prize for Best Paper of 2010, 2010

Society for Mathematical Biology

Researcher of the Year, 2008

USU College of Science

Researcher of the Year, 2004

USU Math Department

Best Visionary Science Publication, 2002

Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service

Professor of the Year, 2001

USU Alumni Association

Teacher of the Year, 2001

USU College of Science

Professor of the Year, 1994

International Student Council

‘Top Prof’ Award, 1994

USU Mortar Board

DiPrima Award, 1991

Five-Star Faculty Award, 1988

University of Arizona

Publications - Abstracts

  • Bentz, B.J, Powell, J.A, Logan, J.A, (1996). Self-focusing and Self-dissipation: Strategies for Mountain Pine Beetle Survival.” Proceedings: North American Forest InsectWork Conference. Texas Forest Service Publication *

Publications - Books & Book Chapters


    Book Chapters

  • Regniere, J., Bentz, B.J, Powell, J.A, St-Amant, R., (2015). Individual-based modelling: mountain pine beetle seasonal biology in response to climate: Modeling Forest Landscape Disturbances. Springer
  • Regniere, J., Powell, J.A, (2013). Animal life cycle models: Phenology: An Integrative Environmental Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • Powell, J.A, Logan, J.A, (2009). Ecological consequences of climate change altered forest insect disturbance regimes: Climate change in western North America : Evidence and environmental effects. University of Utah Press
  • Heavilin, J., Powell, J.A, Logan, J.A, (2007). Development and parametrization of a model for bark beetle disturbance in lodgepole forest: Plant Disturbance Ecology. Academic Press
  • Powell, J.A, Bentz, B.J, Powell, J.A, (1996). Spatial and Temporal Attack Dynamics of the Mountain Pine Beetle: Implications for Management: Integrating Cultural Tactics into the Management of Bark Beetle and Reforestation Pests. USDA Forest Service GTR-NE-236

* Has not been peer reviewed

Publications - Fact Sheets

    * Has not been peer reviewed

    Publications - Curriculum

      * Has not been peer reviewed

      Publications - Journal Articles

        Academic Journal

      • Powell, J.A, Garlick, M.J, Bentz, B.J, Friedenberg, N.A, Differential Dispersal and the Allee Effect Create Power-Law Behavior: Distribution of Spot Infestations During Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreaks. Journal of Animal Ecology, doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12700
      • Hefley, T.J, Hooten, M.B, Russell, R.E, Walsh, D.P, Powell, J.A, (2017). When mechanism matters: forecasting the spread of disease using ecological diffusion. Ecology Letters, doi: doi:10.1111/ele.12763
      • Duncan, J.P, Powell, J.A, Rozum, R.N, Kettenring, K., (2017). Multi-scale methods predict invasion speeds in variable landscapes. Case study: Phragmites australis. Theoretical Ecology, 10, 287-303. doi: 10.1007/s12080-017-0329-0
      • Lewis, M., Powell, J.A, (2017). Yeast for Mathematicians - A Ferment of Discovery and Model Competition with Data. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 79:2, 356-382. doi: DOI 10.1007/s11538-016-0236-3
      • Guiver, C.C, Edholm, C., Jin, Y., Powell, J.A, Rebarber, R., Tenhumberg, B., Townley, S., (2016). Simple adaptive control for positive linear systems with applications to pest management. SIAM J. Applied Math, 76, 238-275.
      • Duncan, J.P, Powell, J.A, Analytic approximation of invasion wave amplitude predicts severity of insect outbreaks. SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics
      • Lewis, M., Powell, J.A, (2016). Modeling zombie outbreaks: A problem-based approach to improving mathematics one brain at a time. PRIMUS, 26, 705-726.
      • Bentz, B.J, Duncan, J.P, Powell, J.A, (2016). Vulnerability assessment of mountain pine beetle population growth in a changing climate: A case study in the US Northern Rocky Mountains. Forestry, doi: doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpv054
      • Dooley, E.M, Six, D.L, Powell, J.A, (2015). A comparison of mountain pine beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) productivity and survival in lodgepole and whitebark pine after a region-wide cold weather event. Forest Science, 61, 235-246.
      • Duncan, J.P, Powell, J.A, Gordillo, L.F, Eason, J., (2015). A model for mountain pine beetle outbreaks in an age structure forest: Approximating severity and outbreak-recovery cycle period. Journal of Mathematical Biology
      • Addison, A., Powell, J.A, Bentz, B.J, Six, D.L, (2015). Integrating models to investigate critical phenological overlaps in complex ecological interactions: The mountain pine beetle-fungus symbiosis. J. Theoretical Biology
      • Neupane, R.C, Powell, J.A, (2015). Invasion Speeds with Active Dispersers in Highly Variable Landscapes: Multiple Scales, Homogenization, and the Migration of Trees. J. Theoretical Biology, 387, 1506-23.
      • Neupane, R.C, Powell, J.A, (2015). Mathematical model of active seed dispersal by frugivorous birds and migration potential of pinyon and juniper in Utah. Applied Mathematics, 6, 1506-23.
      • Kay, S., Powell, J.A, (2015). Canid social structure and density dependence improve predator-prey models of Canis latrans and Lepus californicus in Curlew Valley, UT. Open Journal of Ecology, 5, 120-135.
      • Sims, C., Aadland, D., Powell, J.A, Crabb, B., Finnoff, D., (2014). Complementarity in the provision of ecosystem services reduces the cost of mitigating climate-amplified natural disturbance events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 16718-16723.
      • Powell, J.A, Bentz, B., (2014). Mountain pine beetle seasonal timing and constraints to bivoltinism: A comment on Mitton and Ferrenberg (2012). American Naturalist
      • Engelhardt, K.A, Ritchie, M.E, Powell, J.A, (2014). Body size and the included niche: Patterns of resource use by Tundra and Trumpeter swans. the Scientific World Journal, 2014:Article ID 643694
      • Hooten, M.B, Garlick, M.J, Powell, J.A, (2013). Computationally Efficient Statistical Differential Equation Modeling Using Homogenization. J. Applied Biological and Environmental Statistics, 18, 405-428.
      • Strohm, S., Tyson, R., Powell, J.A, (2013). Pattern formation in a model for mountain pine beetle dispersal: Linking model predictions to data. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 75, 1778-1797.
      • Powell, J.A, Bentz, B.J, (2013). Phenology and Density-Dependent Dispersal Predict Patterns of Mountain Pine Beetle ( Dendroctonus ponderosae) Impact. Ecological Modeling, 273, 173-185.
      • Addison, A., Powell, J.A, Bentz, B., Six, D., (2013). The role of temperature variability in stabilizing the mountain pine beetle-fungus mutualism. J. Theoreteical Biology, 336, 40-50.
      • Addison, A., Powell, J.A, Six, D., Moore, M., Bentz, B., (2013). The role of temperature variability in stabilizing the mountain pine beetle-fungus mutualism. J. Theoretical Biology, 336, 40-50.
      • Sims, C., Aadland, D., Finnoff, D., Powell, J.A, (2013). How ecosystem service provision can increase forest mortality from insect outbreaks. Land Economics, 89:1, 154-176.
      • Garlick, M.J, Powell, J.A, Hooten, M., MacFarlane, L., (2012). Homogenization, Sex, and Differential Motility Predict Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Mule Deer in Southern Utah. Journal of Mathematical Biology
      • Powell, J.A, Kohler, B.R, Haefner, J.W, Bodily, J., (2012). Carrying BioMath Education in a Leaky Bucket. Bulletin of Math Biology, 74, 2232-2264.
      • Hsu, J., Powell, J.A, Adler, P., (2012). Sensitivity of primary production to precipitation. Global Change Biology, 18, 2246–2255.
      • Regniere, J., Powell, J.A, Nealis, V., Bentz, B., (2012). Effects of Temperature on Development, Survival and Reproduction of insects: Experimental Design, Data Analysis and Modeling. Journal of Insect Physiology, 58, 634-647.
      • Modisett, M., Powell, J.A, (2012). Black-Scholes Option Pricing Model Modified to Admit a Miniscule Drift can Reproduce the Volatility Smile. Applied Mathematics, 6, 597-605. doi: 10.4236/am.2012.36093
      • Cobbold, C.A, Powell, J.A, (2011). A Quantitative Genetics Approach to Model the Evolution of Insect Development. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 73, 1052-1081.
      • Hansen, E.M, Bentz, B.J, Powell, J.A, Gray, D.R, Vandygriff, J.C, (2011). Prepupal diapause and instar IV developmental rates of the spruce beetle, Dendroctonus rufipennis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae). Journal of Insect Physiology, 57, 1347–1357.
      • Garlick, M.J, Powell, J.A, Hooten, M.B, (2011). Homogenization of large scale movement models in ecology. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 73, 2088-108.
      • Kohler, B.R, Atkins, B., Haefner, J.W, Powell, J.A, (2010). Leading Students to Investigate Diffusion as a Model of Brine Shrimp Movement. Bulletin of Mathematical Bulletin, 72:1, 230-257.
      • Garlick, M.J, Powell, J.A, (2010). Mathematically Modelling Polymerase Chain Reaction: An Asymptotic Approximation with Potential for Optimization. Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 7, 365-386.
      • Yurk, B.P, Powell, J.A, (2010). Modeling the Effects of Developmental Variation on Insect Phenology. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 72, 1334-1360.
      • Powell, J.A, Bentz, B.J, (2009). Connecting Phenological Predictions with Population Growth Rates for an Outbreak Insect. Landscape Ecology, 24, 657-672.
      • Powell, J.A, Bentz, B.J, (2009). Connecting Phenological Predictions with Population Growth Rates for an Outbreak Insect. Landscape Ecology, 24, 657-672.
      • Yurk, B.P, Powell, J.A, (2009). Modeling the Evolution of Insect Phenology. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 71, 952-979.
      • Heavilin, J., Powell, J.A, (2008). A novel method for fitting spatio-temporal models to data, with applications to the dynamics of Mountain Pine Beetle. Natural Resource Modelling, 21, 489-524.
      • Lof, M., Etienne, R., Powell, J.A, de Gee, M., Hemerik, L., (2008). The effect of chemical information on the spatial distribution of fruit flies I: Model results.. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 70, 1827-1849.
      • Kathuroju, N., White, M.A, Symanzik, J., Schwartz, M.D, Powell, J.A, Nemani, R.R, (2007). On the Use of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer for the Development of Prognostic Land Surface Phenology Models. Ecological Modeling, 201:2, 144-156.
      • Friedenberg, N.A, Powell, J.A, Ayres, M.P, (2007). Synchrony’s double edge: Transient dynamics and the Allee effect in stage structured populations. Ecology Letters, 10, 1-10.
      • Hicke, J.A, Logan, J.A, Powell, J.A, Ojima, D.S, (2006). Changing temperatures influence suitability for mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the western US. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, 111, G02019.
      • Powell, J.A, Slapnicar, I., van der Werf, W., (2005). Epidemic Spread of a Lesion-Forming Plant Pathogen – Analysis of a Mechanistic Model with Infinite Age Structure. Journal of Linear Algebra and Applications, 398, 117-140.
      • Skelsey, P., Rossing, W.H, Kessel, G.J, Powell, J.A, van der Werf, W., (2005). Influence of Host Diversity on Development of Epidemics: An Evaluation and Elaboration of Mixture Theory. Phytopathology, 95, 328-338.
      • Powell, J.A, Logan, J.A, (2005). Insect Seasonality – Circle Map Analysis of Temperature-Driven Life Cycles. Theoretical Population Biology, 67, 161-179.
      • Powell, J.A, Gilbert, E., Logan, J.A, (2004). Comparison of three models predicting developmental milestones given environmental and individual variation. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 66, 1821-1850.
      • Kessel, G.J, Kohl, J., Powell, J.A, Rabbinge, R., van der Werf, W., (2004). Modelling spatial characteristics in the biocontrol of fungi at the leaf scale: Competitive substrate colonization by Botrytis cinerea and the saprophytic antagonist Ulocladium atrum. Phytopathology, 95, 439-48.
      • Powell, J.A, Zimmermann, N.E, (2004). Multi-Scale Analysis of Seed Dispersal Contributes to the Resolution of Reid’s Paradox. Ecology, 85:2, 490-506.
      • Logan, J.A, Regniere, J., Powell, J.A, (2003). Assessing the Impacts of Global Climate Change on Forest Pests. Frontiers in Ecology, 1:3, 130-137.
      • Cutler, D., Brown, L., Powell, J.A, Bentz, B., Cutler, A., (2003). Identifying ‘Redtops’: Classification of Satellite Imagery for Tracking Mountain Pine Beetle Progression through a Pine Forest. Computing Science and Statistics, 35, 711–728.
      • de Jong, M., Bourdot, G., Powell, J.A, Goudriaan, J., (2002). A model of the escape of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum ascospores from pasture. Ecological Modeling, 150, 83-105.
      • Etienne, R., Wertheim, B., Hemerik, L., Schneider, P., Powell, J.A, (2002). The interaction between dispersal, the Allee effect and scramble competition affects population dynamics. Ecological Modelling, 148, 153-168.
      • Logan, J.A, Powell, J.A, (2001). Ghost Forests, Global Warming and the Mountain Pine Beetle. American Entomologist, 47, 160-173.
      • Powell, J.A, Jenkins, J.L, Logan, J.A, Bentz, B.J, (2001). Low seasonal temperatures promote life cycle synchronization. Bulletin of Math Biology, 63, 573-595.
      • van der Werf, W., Evans, E.W, Powell, J.A, (2001). Measuring and modelling dispersal of Coccinella septempunctata in alfalfa fields. European Journal of Entomology, 97, 487-493.
      • Biesinger, Z., Powell, J.A, Bentz, B., Logan, J., (2000). Direct and Indirect Parametrization of a Localized Model for the Mountain Pine Beetle – Lodgepole Pine System. Ecological Modelling, 129, 273-296.
      • Etienne, R., Wertheim, B., Hemerik, L., Schneider, P., Powell, J.A, (2000). Dispersal may enable persistence of fruit flies suffering from the Allee effect and scramble competition. Proceedings of the Dutch Entomological Society, 11, 121-128.
      • van der Werf, W., Evans, E.W, Powell, J.A, (2000). Dispersal of Coccinella septempunctata in Utah alfalfa. Proceedings of the Dutch Entomological Society, 11, 135-144.
      • Powell, J.A, Engelhardt, K.M, Roy, V.L, Kadlec, J.A, (2000). Evaluation of translocation criteria: a case study with trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator). Biological Conservation, 94, 173-181.
      • Powell, J.A, Kennedy, B., White, P., Bentz, B., Logan, J., Roberts, D., (2000). Mathematical elements of attack risk analysis for mountain pine beetles. J. Theor. Biol., 204, 601-620.
      • Powell, J.A, Engelhardt, K.M, (2000). Optimal trajectories for the short-distance foraging flights of swans. J. Theor. Biology, 204, 415-430.
      • Powell, J.A, Jenkins, J., Logan, J., Bentz, B., (2000). Seasonal Temperature Alone Can Synchronize Life Cycles. Bulletin Mathematical Biology, 62, 997-998.
      • Powell, J.A, McMillen, T., White, P., (1998). Connecting a Chemotactic Model for Mass Attack to a Rapid Integro-Difference Emulation Strategy. SIAM J. Appl. Math, 59:2, 547-572.
      • Powell, J.A, Cangelosi, J.S, Harris, A.M, (1998). Games to teach mathematical modelling. SIAM Review, 40:1, 87-95.
      • Logan, J., White, P., Bentz, B., Powell, J.A, (1998). Model analysis of the temporal evolution of spatial patterns in mountain pine beetle outbreaks. Theor. Pop. Biology, 53, 236-255.
      • White, P., Powell, J.A, (1998). Spatial invasion of pine beetles into lodgepole forests: a numerical approach. SIAM J. Sci. Comp., 20:1, 164-184.
      • Powell, J.A, Tams, J., Bentz, B., Logan, J., (1998). Theoretical Analysis of ‘Switching’ in a Localized Model for Mountain Pine Beetle Mass Attack. J. Theor. Biology, 194, 49-63.
      • Powell, J.A, (1997). Conditional stability of front solutions. J. Math. Biol, 35, 729-47.
      • Mott, K.A, Denne, F., Powell, J.A, (1997). Interactions among stomata in response to perturbations in humidity. Plant, Cell and Environment, 20, 1098-1107.
      • Powell, J.A, Rose, J., (1997). Local consequences of a global model for mountain pine beetle mass attack. Dynamics and Stability of Systems, 12:1, 3-24.
      • Powell, J.A, Logan, J.A, Bentz, B.J, (1996). Local projections for a global model of mountain pine beetle attacks. J. Theor. Biol., 179, 243-260.
      • Powell, J.A, Wright, E.M, Moloney, J.V, (1994). Reflection of localized beams from a nonlinear absorbing interface. SIAM J. Appl. Math, 54, 774-788.
      • Powell, J.A, Jakobsen, P.K, (1993). Localized states in fluid convection and multi-photon lasers. Physica D, 64, 132-52.
      • Powell, J.A, Moloney, J.V, Newell, A.C, Albanese, R.A, (1993). Beam collapse as an explanation for anomalous ocular damage. JOSA B, 10, 1230-1241.
      • Powell, J.A, Tabor, M., (1992). Non-generic connections corresponding to front solutions. J. Phys. A, 25, 3773-3796.
      • Jones, C.R, Kapitula, T.M, Powell, J.A, (1990). Nearly real fronts in a Ginzburg-Landau equation. Proc. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh, 116A
      • Tremback, C., Powell, J.A, Cotton, W., Pielke, R., (1987). The forward-in-time upstream advection scheme: extension to higher orders. Monthly Weather Rev., 115, 540-555.
      • In-House Journal

      • Crabb, B.A, Powell, J.A, Bentz, B.J, (2012). Development and assessment of 30-meter pine density maps for landscape-level modeling of mountain pine beetle dynamics. USDA FS Rocky Mountain Research Station Research Paper, RMRS-RP-93WWW

      * Has not been peer reviewed

      Publications - Literary Journal

        * Has not been peer reviewed

        Publications - MultiMedia

          * Has not been peer reviewed

          Publications - Technical Reports

            Research Reports

          • Bentz, B.J, Powell, J.A, Logan, J.A, (1996). Spatial and temporal attack dynamics of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) in lodgepole pine. USDA/FS Research Note
          • Powell, J.A, (1990). Beam Collapse in the Human Eye. AFOSR grant number 910074 *
          • Other Reports

          • Powell, J.A, Bernoff, A., (1989). Saddle-node bifurcation of slowly-varying, nonlinear travelling waves. AFOSR grant number 900021

          * Has not been peer reviewed

          Publications - Translations & Transcripts

            Publications - Other

              * Has not been peer reviewed

              Scheduled Teaching

              BIOL, MATH 6750, 6910 - Topics in Biology, Spring 2017

              MATH 7990 - Continuing Graduate Advisement, Fall 2016

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Fall 2016

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Fall 2016

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Fall 2016

              STAT 6950 - Directed Reading and Conference, Fall 2016

              STAT 6910 - Seminar in Statistics, Fall 2016

              MATH 5420 - Partial Differential Equations, Spring 2016

              MATH 5410 - Methods of Applied Mathematics, Fall 2015

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Spring 2014

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Spring 2014

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Spring 2014

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Spring 2014

              BIOL 6750 - Topics in Biology, Spring 2014

              MATH 5410 - Methods of Applied Mathematics, Fall 2013

              MATH 6470,7810 - Advanced Asymptotic Methods, Spring 2013

              MATH 7410 - Differential Equations (Topic), Spring 2013

              MATH 6910 - Directed Reading and Conference, Fall 2012

              MATH 5410 - Methods of Applied Mathematics, Fall 2012

              BIOL 4230 - Applied Mathematics in Biology, Spring 2012

              MATH 4230 - Applied Mathematics in Biology, Spring 2012

              MATH 7410 - Differential Equations (Topic), Spring 2012

              MATH 6820 - Topics in Mathematics (Topic), Spring 2012

              MATH 5410 - Methods of Applied Mathematics, Fall 2011

              MATH 5270 - COMPLEX VARIABLES, Spring 2011

              MATH 5820 - ST: CALC ECOL NEED TO KNOW, Spring 2011

              MATH 5410 - Methods of Applied Mathematics, Fall 2010

              MATH 5410 - Methods of Applied Mathematics, Fall 2010

              MATH 6810 - Topics in Mathematics (Topic), Fall 2010

              Graduate Students Mentored

              Audrey Smith, Mathematics & Statistics
              Brian Yurk, Mathematics & Statistics
              Justin Heavilin, Mathematics & Statistics
              Marti Garlick, Mathematics & Statistics
              Alia Criddle-Maw, Mathematics & Statistics
              AnnMarie Harris, Mathematics & Statistics
              Audrey Smith, Mathematics & Statistics
              Bradley Bush, Mathematics & Statistics
              Chris Retford, Mathematics & Statistics
              Daniel Balls, Mathematics & Statistics
              Estella Gilbert, Mathematics & Statistics
              Heidi Tangermann, Wildland Resources
              Jan Jenkins, Mathematics & Statistics
              Kun Huang, Mathematics & Statistics
              Matt Lewis, Mathematics & Statistics
              Matt Lewis, Mathematics & Statistics
              Michael Rigley, Mathematics & Statistics
              Tyler McMillen, Mathematics & Statistics
              Zy Biesinger, Biology
              Ian McGahan, Mathematics & Statistics, August 2016
              Anne McManis, Biology, August 2015
              Matthew Lewis, Mathematics & Statistics - December 2016
              Jacob Duncan, Mathematics & Statistics - May 2016
              Ram Neupane, Mathematics & Statistics - December 2015
              Jacob Duncan, Mathematics & Statistics, August 2012 - November 2015
              Ram Neupane, Mathematics & Statistics, September 2010 - August 2015
              Sarah Reehl, Mathematics & Statistics, August 2013 - May 2015
              Sarah Reehl, - May 2014
              Alicia Caldwell, Mathematics & Statistics 2013