Gregory S. Gilbert

TitleProfessor and Department 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
Phone831-459-5002
Email
FAX831-459-4015
Web Site Office hour sign up
Gilbert Lab page
UCSC Forest Ecology Research Plot
SCWIBLES GK-12 Graduate Training Program
CenTREAD Center for Tropical Ecology Agriculture and Development
Office439 Interdisciplinary Sciences Bldg
Office HoursW17 Mon: 10:00-11:30 Thu: 10-10:45; see webpage signup
Campus Mail StopEnvironmental Studies
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
95064
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

Honors:
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

To paraphrase Margaret Mead, learning has a much longer and more successful evolutionary history than does teaching.  As a teacher, my most important task is not to get in the way of learning. 


You can see my Teaching Portfolio here.


I am a strong advocate of experiential learning and the value of learning through inquiry.  While content knowledge is important and useful, I am much more interested in helping ensure that students are prepared to learn about – and to solve – environmental problems that are not yet in the textbooks, journals, or the news.


Inquiry gains purpose in teaching and learning when it is connected to theory and content knowledge.  Because acquiring content knowledge - information transfer - requires individual effort, it is best done outside the classroom.  As much as possible, I adopt a flipped-classroom approach where information transfer is primarily through pre-class readings and online resources motivated by pre-class quizzes or homeworks.  Class time can then be spent with mixes of lecture on difficult concepts, small-group work, problem solving, discussion of primary literature, and bite-sized inquiry to build understanding.  


I want students to read critically and write effectively, to be numerically literate, to formulate interesting questions and place them into a larger context, and to use appropriate tools to address important questions.  I want them to trust their own abilities, while being critical of their own positions.  I want them to develop the confidence to argue effectively and clearly for what they believe.  


Inquiry as a mode of learning is inclusive.  It starts from the point of not knowing, and wanting to know more.  It depends much less on where you have been than on where you want to go.  It embraces (quality) ignorance as source of inspiration.  Inquiry can be effective for learning while sitting at a desk in a windowless classroom or sprawled in the duff in the shade of the redwoods. 



My interests in inquiry-based teaching and learning has took a central focus in my career through my role 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)