Erika Zavaleta
Published November 16, 2016
Updated April 20, 2021

Erika Zavaleta is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She directs the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and the CAMINO (Center to Advance Mentored, Inquiry-based Opportunities) at UCSC. In 2021, she was appointed by the governor to the California Fish and Game Commission.

Zavaleta and her group study the drivers of biological diversity and the role of ecology in guiding effective conservation practice. Their projects address the effects of climate variability and change on alpine migratory songbirds, desert communities and tropical conifer distributions; effectiveness of stream restoration efforts; and adaptation of conservation practices to climate change and to community needs. Zavaleta is the co-author of the book Ecosystems of California (2016).

Expertise: Ecology, conservation science, plant biodiversity, climate change, ecological anthropology, ecosystems of California

Location: Santa Cruz, Calif.

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