About Brian

Dr. Brian Miller is a Research Ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, and is a staff member of the Department of Interior North Central Climate Science Center (NC CSC). He is working with other NC CSC staff and partners to develop simulation and scenario planning tools that can support resource management under climate change, and is also helping to manage capacity building projects in the north central domain. Brian earned his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also worked at the Carolina Population Center. His dissertation focused on how conservation areas and land use changes have affected access to drought resource areas in East Africa, how these changes in resource access have influenced the livelihood decisions of Maasai pastoralists, and how livelihood decisions and resource management institutions have affected rangeland rivers. More broadly, his research addresses the interactions between resource management initiatives and social-ecological systems. He draws on a variety of research methods, including state-and-transition simulations, agent-based models, scenario planning, remote sensing, household surveys, and interviews. He has applied these methods to questions of resource management in East Africa, the Galápagos Islands, and the western U.S.

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  • Social-ecological systems
  • Scenario planning
  • State-and-transition simulation modeling
  • Agent-based modeling
  • Human dimensions of conservation
  • Knowledge co-production
  • Actionable science
  • Resource management
  • Rangeland ecology
  • Livelihoods
  • Pastoralism
  • Human ecology
  • Land-use/land-cover change
  • East Africa
  • Western U.S.


Ph.D., Ecology - University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, CO, 2013

B.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - University of Colorado
Boulder, CO, 2005

Selected Publications

Feedbacks between conservation and social-ecological systems

  • Miller, BW, SC Caplow, PW Leslie,

Coping with natural hazards in a conservation context: resource-use decisions of Maasai households during recent and historical drought

  • Miller, BW, PW Leslie, JT McCabe,

Integrating research tools to support resource management under climate change

  • Miller, BW, JT Morisette ,

Using stylized agent-based models for population-environment research: a case study from the Galápagos Islands

  • Miller, BW, I Breckheimer, AL McCleary, L Guzmán-Ramirez, SC Caplow, JC Jones-Smith, SJ Walsh,

Co-producing simulation models to inform resource management: a case study from southwest South Dakota

  • Miller BW, Symstad A, Frid L, Fisichelli N, Schuurman G.,