Richard Vachula
Department of Geosciences
Assistant Professor

Research Areas:

Office: 2070 Beard Eaves Coliseum

Phone: (334) 844-4966

Fax: (334) 844-4295



Ph.D., Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown University
Sc.M., Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown University
B.S., Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A., French Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professional Employment
Assistant Professor, Auburn University
2022 - Present
Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar of Environmental Science & Policy, College of William & Mary
2020 - 2021
Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Reading

Research and Teaching Interests

Richard is a paleoclimatologist, paleoecologist, and organic geochemist researching how fires and humans have affected ecosystems of the past to inform management and policy decisions today. He studies the variability, controls, and impacts of fire in the Earth System, as well as the ecological impacts of humans on ecosystems. He teaches a graduate course focusing on Earth System Science and Global Change.

Selected Publications

  1. Vachula, R. S., Huang, Y., Longo, W. M., Dee, S. G., Daniels, W. C., & Russell, J. M. (2019). Evidence of Ice Age humans in eastern Beringia suggests early migration to North America. Quaternary Science Reviews, 205, 35-44.
  2. Vachula, R. S., Russell, J. M., & Huang, Y. (2019). Climate exceeded human management as the dominant control of fire at the regional scale in California’s Sierra Nevada. Environmental Research Letters, 14(10), 104011.
  3. Vachula, R. S., Russell, J. M., Huang, Y., & Richter, N. (2018). Assessing the spatial fidelity of sedimentary charcoal size fractions as fire history proxies with a high-resolution sediment record and historical data. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 508, 166-175.
  4. Vachula, R. S., Sae-Lim, J., & Li, R. (2021). A critical appraisal of charcoal morphometry as a paleofire fuel type proxy. Quaternary Science Reviews, 262, 106979.
  5. Vachula, R. S., & Cheung, A. H. (2021). Late Neogene surge in sedimentary charcoal fluxes partly due to preservation biases, not fire activity. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 567, 110273.


Last updated: 01/25/2023