Gregory S. Gilbert

TitleProfessor and Chair,
Director of SCWIBLES GK-12 Graduate Training Program,
Director of UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot
DivisionSocial Sciences Division
DepartmentEnvironmental Studies Department
AffiliationsLatin American & Latino Studies,
Chicano Latino Research Center
Web Site Gilbert Lab page
SCWIBLES GK-12 Graduate Training Program
UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot
CenTREAD Center for Tropical Ecology Agriculture and Development
Office439 Interdisciplinary Sciences Bldg
Office HoursF16 Mon: 10:00-11:30 Thu: 11:30-1:00; see webpage signup
Campus Mail StopEnvironmental Studies
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Gregory S. Gilbert

Research Interests

Applied evolutionary ecology: species interactions and conservation in tropical and temperate ecosystems

My long term goal is to apply theory and understanding from evolutionary ecology to address environmental problems.  Much of my research centers around interactions between fungal and plant communities in natural and managed ecosystems. I work extensively in both Mediterranean-climate ecosystems in California and in tropical ecosystems in Panama. Currently I spend most of my effort in four areas:
(1) using the tools of phylogenetic ecology to understand the ecological impacts of plant diseases in temperate and tropical ecosystems, and applying those tools toward better conservation, restoration, and agroecology management practices.
(2) developing tools based on evolutionary ecology to help in pest risk analyses for improved phytosanitary practice.
(3) developing the UCSC-Forest Ecology Research Plot, a 16-ha mapped forest dynamics plot in mixed-evergreen coastal forest on the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve, to be a vibrant center for student research and teaching.
(4) exploring approaches to improved cross-cultural communications and inquiry-based teaching and learning in environmental sciences.

Biography, Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panamá (1991-95)
Ph.D. in Plant Pathology (Soil Science minor), University of Wisconsin-Madison,(1991, with Jo Handelsman and Jennifer Parke)
Tropical Ecosystems Course, Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica (1989)
M.Sc. in Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1988,with Jennifer Parke)
B.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (1985)
SeaMester Program in Coastal Ecology, Long Island University (1984)

Honors, Awards and Grants

Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013)
Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity (2012)
Fellow, California Academy of Sciences (2010)
Pepper-Giberson Chair of Environmental Studies (2008-2013)
Xi Sigma Pi (Forestry) (1997)
Sigma Xi (Science) (1991)
Gamma Sigma Delta (Agriculture) (1989)

Current Grants:
National Science Foundation. Dimensions in Biodiversity: Testing the potential of pathogenic fungi to control the diversity, distribution, and abundance of tree species in a Neotropical forest community. Stephen Hubbell, Brant Faircloth, Gregory Gilbert, Travis Glenn. DEB-1136626 (2012-2017)

National Science Foundation. GK-12: SCWIBLES - Santa Cruz-Watsonville Inquiry Based Learning in Environmental Sciences. G.S. Gilbert, I.M. Parker, and D. Ash DGE-094723 (2010-2015)

USDA-APHIS-PPQ cooperative agreement. Development of a phylogenetic tool for exotic pest risk analysis. (2011-2014)

Selected Publications

Teaching Interests

I teach to learn. Teaching often shows me what I should be thinking about, and guides my research. As a researcher I also believe that students learn best by asking questions themselves, and especially when they explore questions that don't have a clear answer. The goal in all my teaching is to get students to ask hard questions, and to make sure they have the tools to find the information and evaluate it critically. I stress the ability to write clearly and to use think about and use quantitative information well. Most of my teaching draws heavily on primary literature or hands-on inquiry-based approaches, because I want our graduates to be able to creatively solve the environmental issues of tomorrow -- not those of yesterday. I ask that the students recognize the great responsibility that comes with the privilege of education, and that part of that responsibility is to use scientific understanding to continually re-evaluate the assumptions that shape their world view.

Besides teaching in the classroom, I strongly value the importance of mentoring students in independent studies, internships, and senior theses. As the faculty representative for the UCSC Campus Natural Reserve I host a large number of internships and independent studies, particularly focused on the UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot. Similarly, I have an active laboratory of graduate students working on a wide range of topics in applied ecology and evolutionary biology.

My interests in inquiry-based teaching and learning has taken a central focus in my career as Director of the NSF-sponsored GK-12 graduate training program  SCWIBLES: the Santa-Cruz Watsonville Inquiry-Based Learning in Environmental Sciences (2010-2015). SCWIBLES created a partnership between UCSC and Watsonville High School to develop exciting inquiry-based curriculum, focused on the transition to the Next Generation Science Standards. SCWIBLES trained environmental science graduate student to communicate effectively about science with non-scientists.

Courses Taught

ENVS 122 - Tropical Ecology and Conservation (Even Spring Quarters - taught by S. Langridge S14)
ENVS 163 - Plant Disease Ecology (Odd Spring Quarters)
ENVS290L - Graduate Research Seminar (Fall)
ENVS 291D - Advanced Readings in Tropical Ecology, Agriculture, and Development (with Karen Holl, usually Spring Quarters)
ENVS 291 - Transitioning to R (Odd Fall quarters)