Erika Zavaleta (Professor)

I am an ecosystem ecologist broadly interested in implications of interacting global and regional environmental changes, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and stewardship of wild ecosystems. My research group studies the drivers and consequences of changing biological diversity and the role of ecology in guiding effective conservation practice. Recent and current projects address the effects of climate variability and change on endemic California oak populations; the 150-year reconstruction of cumulative nitrogen pollution effects on remnant grassland ecosystems; the effects of climate-driven species losses on serpentine grassland functioning; the need for climate adaptation planning processes, particularly for the state of California; and the global case for ecosystem-based climate adaptation as an alternative to hard-engineered approaches.

I strive to bridge ecological theory, training and research to sound conservation and management practice. To that end, we incorporate collaboration with conservation practitioners and elements of economics, public policy, and anthropology.

On my time off, I enjoy the outdoors with my husband and four wee ones (22, 12, 8 and 5).

1999: Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Fellow
2001-2003: David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow
2004-05: Program ecologist, The Christensen Fund.
2008: Ecological Society of America’s Sustainability Science Award
Currently serving on the boards of the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program, the Tropical Forest Group, EcoAdapt, and the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Environment.

BA and MA in Anthropology (Stanford University, 1995)
Ph.D in Biological Sciences (Stanford University, 2001)