Department Directory







Department Chair: Rita Mehta Department Manager: Stephanie Zakarian
Graduate Program Coordinator: Judy Straub Department Assistant: Eva Chudnow
Undergraduate Program Coordinator/Lead Advisor: Rexton Lynn Undergraduate Advisor: Aubrie Tait
Biology Teaching Laboratory and Facilities Support Technician: Nicole Hack
Department Office: (831) 459-5358 Administrative Office: CBB, Room 207, 209
Erika S Zavaleta

Summary of Expertise

Conservation Science
Global Change Biology
Plant Biodiversity
Plant-Animal Interactions
Community and Ecosystem Dynamics
Nitrogen Biogeochemistry
Ecological Anthropology
Climate Change Adaptation

Biography, Education and Training

Erika Zavaleta is a professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She and her research group study the drivers and consequences of changing biological diversity and the role of ecology in guiding effective conservation practice. Recent and current projects address effects of climate variability and change on alpine migratory songbirds, desert communities and tropical conifer distributions; effectiveness of stream restoration efforts; and adaptation of conservation practices to climate change and to community needs. Erika's group works to bridge ecological theory, training and research to sound conservation and management practice. Their research accordingly incorporates collaboration with conservation practitioners and elements of economics, public policy, and anthropology. 
Erika earned her BA and MA in Anthropology and her PhD in Biological Sciences at Stanford University. She was a recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s Sustainability Science Award in 2008 and has authored or co-authored ~75 papers and book chapters in ecology and social science. Most recently, she co-edited Ecosystems of California, which won a California Book Award and other national accolades. Erika is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the California Academy of Sciences.  She teaches Ecosystems of California (BIOE 125) and directs the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and the CAMINO (Center to Advance Mentored, Inquiry-based Opportunities) at UCSC. At home, Erika enjoys life outdoors with her husband and wee ones (ages 26, 15, 11, and 8).