Bill Smith

Occupation: Research Scientist

Affiliation: Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group, University of Montana

Bill’s Research: Bill’s research addresses large-scale climate, food, and energy issues via the application of global satellite data and ecosystem process models.  Bill is currently applying satellite data on vegetation productivity to estimate the global potential for biomass as a future energy source (bioenergy).  In addition, Bill is very interested in understanding how global vegetation productivity will respond to human-driven climate, land-use, and nutrient cycling perturbations.


B.S. Western Carolina University, Mathematics/Biology, 2005

M.S. Colorado State University, Ecology, 2008

PhD  University of Montana, Ecology, 2013

Favorite Species: Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Best Sampling Road Trip: Vegetation sampling within the footprint of established GPS towers located throughout Montana.  I always end at a site near a nice stretch of the Madison River and fish for the rest of the day.

Places I’ve Lived: Laramie (WY), Honolulu (HI), Perth (Australia), Silva (NC), Fort Collins (CO), Missoula (MT), moving to Minneapolis (MN)!

In my Field Backpack: GPS, compass, PVC grid, metric measuring tape, clippers, paper bags, pencils, sharpies, notebook, weather-proof camera, bear spray, fly rod

My First Family-Related Science Experience: Growing up, I remember helping my dad (W.K. Smith, Ecophysiologist, Wake Forest University) record plant photosynthesis rates using a portable LI-COR gas exchange system.  Seeing photosynthesis rates change instantaneously in response to changes in sunlight and cloud cover blew my mind and has stuck with me ever since.

My Most Recent Family-Related Science Experience: Working with my younger brother (M.K. Smith, Graduate Student, Georgia Tech University) on his experiment, aimed at testing the temperature sensitivity of photovoltaic solar panels.

Places I’ve Done Research:

  1. Medicine Bow National Forest (WY)
  2. San Juan Mountains (CO)
  3. Niwot Ridge (CO)
  4. Satellite, flux tower, and GPS tower observations (Global)
Bill’s Contact Info:

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