The land cover of the Northern Great Plains (NGP) is likely to change given that the recent U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard calls for 36 billion gallons of ethanol production by 2022 with over half produced from plant biomass. Mirela is interested in the ecological implications of increased biofuel production and currently is using satellite data to explore potential fire risks to feedstock crops in the NGP and to understand how changes in regional land cover may occur as a result of biofuel production. Mirela received her PhD in Ecology (SDSU) in 2008. She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University (Hungary) and her Bachelor’s degree in Ecology from University of Bucharest (Romania). Mirela worked as a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Mike Wimberly studying the regional ecology of agroecosystems in the northern Great Plains.