Erika S Zavaleta

Pepper-Giberson Chair
DivisionPhysical & Biological Sciences
DepartmentBiological Sciences
AffiliationsEnvironmental Studies Department
Web Site The Zavaleta Lab
OfficeCOH Long Marine Lab
Campus Mail StopCBB/EE Biology
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Erika S Zavaleta

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 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