Gregory S. Gilbert

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
CenTREAD Center for Tropical Ecology Agriculture and Development
UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot
Office439 Interdisciplinary Sciences Bldg
Office HoursNo Office Hours: On Sabbatical in Spain 2015-16; see for FERP
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 understand what shapes the structure and composition of fungal and plant communities in natural and managed ecosystems, and to apply that understanding to better conservation, restoration, and agroecological practice. 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 management practices.
(2) developing tools based on evolutionary ecology to help in pest risk analyses for improved phytosanitary practice.
(3) developing the recently establish UCSC-Forest Ecology Research Plot, a 6-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 with the establishment of an NSF-sponsored GK-12 graduate training program called SCWIBLES, the Santa-Cruz Watsonville Inquiry-Based Learning in Environmental Sciences. SCWIBLES is a partnership between UCSC and Watsonville High School. As Director of SCWIBLES, I guide a training program to help Environmental Science graduate student effectively communicate about science with non-scientists, while working to develop an effective Environmental Science and Natural Resources curriculum at Watsonville High School, a predominantly Latino-serving, and chronically underperforming high school.

Courses Taught

ENVS 122 - Tropical Ecology and Conservation (Even Spring Quarters - taught by S. Langridge S14)
ENVS 163 - Plant Disease Ecology (Odd Spring Quarters)
ENVS 201A - Keywords and Concepts in Environmental Studies (Ecology, Evolution, and Geography, with Andrew Szasz, Fall Quarter)
ENVS 291D - Advanced Readings in Tropical Ecology, Agriculture, and Development (with Karen Holl, usually Spring Quarters)
ENVS 291 - Transitioning to R (Odd Fall quarters)
ENVS 291 - SCWIBLES Inquiry-based learning (with Ingrid Parker and Doris Ash)