Erika S Zavaleta

Pepper-Giberson Chair
DivisionPhysical & Biological Sciences
DepartmentBiological Sciences
Web Site The Zavaleta Lab
OfficeNs2 Room 457
Office HoursSPRING 2014: by arrangement (traveling with field course this quarter)
Campus Mail StopEE Biology / EMS
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Erika S Zavaleta

Biography, Education and Training

Erika Zavaleta is a professor in the Environmental Studies 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 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. In most of her work, Erika strives to bridge ecological theory, training and research to sound conservation and management practice. To that end, her research incorporates collaboration with conservation practitioners and elements of economics, public policy, and anthropology. From 2001-2003, Erika was a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow of the Nature Conservancy. In 2004-05 she spent a one-year leave working in the philanthropic sector as program ecologist for The Christensen Fund.
Erika completed a BA and MA in Anthropology (1995) and a PhD in Biological Sciences (2001) 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 the book Ecosystems of California.  She lives in Santa Cruz and enjoys life outdoors with her husband and wee ones (ages 23, 12, 8, and 5).

Courses Taught

ENVS 125: Ecosystems of California
ENVS 104A/L: Field Methods in Environmental Science
ENVS 109ABCD: Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse
ENVS 189: Research Seminar
ENVS 290: Research Seminar