News about the REACH IGERT

Floodplain poster garners award


The REACH IGERT 2010 cohort's poster about their research on floodplain restoration received both judge's choice and community choice awards at the 2012 NSF IGERT PI meeting.

You can view the poster and video clip about the research here.

Coming soon: a public workshop on the research, Friday, 14 September 2012. See the conference webpage for more information and to register.

Capital Public Radio interview about the fragrance project

Host David Watts-Barton spoke with Meredith Niles and Rick Grosberg about project on fragrances in personal care products as an emerging environmental issue. You can listen to the podcast here.

Workshop -- Fragranced Personal Care Products and Environmental Change: Scientific, Social, and Policy Perspectives

16 September 2011, 9am-4pm
Life Science 1022
UC Davis
For more information, go to the dedicated web page.

REACH fall core course: PBG 250A

Led by Bruce Winterhalder, T 10:30-11:50, Th 11:00-11:50, F 1:10-2:40, 2320H Storer Hall.

CRN 74562

Gene flow may help plants adapt to climate change

BioInv IGERT trainee and REACH Bridge RA Jay Sexton, with coauthors Sharon Strauss and Kevin Rice, showed that gene flow among populations of the Sierra Nevada cutleaved monkeyflower may help plants better adapt to climate change. The results -- part of Jay's dissertation -- were published online June 27 by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For more information, see

The Business of Ecology: Private Sector Collaboration and Career Opportunities

Richard Cudney-Bueno, Deb Rogers, and
Meredith Niles discuss career preparation.

IGERT women
Audience members listen intently.

Trainees Noam Ross and Meredith Niles conceived of, planned, and hosted the recent workshop, "The Business of Ecology: Private Sector Collaboration and Career Opportunities", with support from the REACH IGERT and John Muir Institute for the Environment. Speakers included...

  • Robert Capriola, Conservation Planner, Westervelt Ecological Services
  • Michael Hogan, Founder, Integrated Environmental Restoration Services
  • Deborah Rogers, Director of Conservation Science, Center for Natural Lands Management
  • Erica Brand, Senior Environmental Policy Specialist, Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Ann Thrupp, Director of Sustainability, Fetzer/Bonterra Vineyards

Participants included faculty and graduate students from graduate programs in ecology, population biology, viticulture and enology, international agricultural development, and agricultural and resource economics, and MBA students from the Graduate School of Management.

You can download the workshop program here. We hope to have a video available for download very soon. Questions? Contact Carole Hom, clhom at ucdavis dot edu.

The effects of large-scale environmental changes on natural ecosystems

Jonah censusing lizards.
Photo courtesy of David Spiller.
BioInv IGERT alumnus Jonah Piovia-Scott, REACH IGERT trainer Tom Schoener, and UC Davis researcher David Spiller have shown that predicting the impacts of large-scale environmental changes on simple food webs may not be straightforward. Piovia-Scott and his colleagues added seaweed to a series of small islands in the Bahamas (to mimic deposition caused by hurricanes, overfishing, and eutrophication) and examined the impact on plants, the insects that feed on them, and the ants and lizards that prey upon the insects. Their work showed that environmental changes can restructure food web interactions in a way not predicted by studies of single-species responses or pairwise interactions. They conclude that to inform management and conservation decisions, it may be necessary to conduct experiments on a spatial scale large enough to capture community-wide dynamics. For full details, see their article in the 28 January 2011 issue of Science.


IGERT women
Students from three IGERT cohorts
  • The Williamson Act project is making the news again, thanks to the proposed 2012 California budget and some timely blog posts. See the Green blog, Western Farm Press, and Davis Enterprise for recent postings, and the project website (scroll down a bit) for full information.
  • Trainers Jay Lund and Peter Moyle coauthored a study published by the Public Policy Institute of California on proposed solutions to California's continuing strife over water. You can read their study online here.
  • Associate Melissa Whitaker received an NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute fellowship to support research in Japan in 2011.
  • Noam Ross published an op-ed in GOOD magazine about the interplay between urban migration and restoration. You can read more of Noam's work at his blog.
  • We all can celebrate this: The National Research Council's 2010 ranking of graduate programs places UC Davis' ecology program in the top five percent of programs nationwide. See the campus press release for more information.
  • ....and this: UC Davis received a grade of A- from the College Sustainability Report 2011 by For more information, see the awards section of the campus sustainability website.
  • Wanna know about trainees who've received NSF fellowships? There are too many to list here but see the trainee page for full information.
  • Sarah Myhre was awarded an EPA STAR fellowship! Earlier in 2010, Sarah also received a scholarship from NSF to attend the Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology, at the Università degli Studi di Urbino.
  • Meredith Niles received a 2010 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award. As part of this honor, Meredith and the two other awardees participated in the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition Congressional Visits Day in April 2010.
  • REACH PI Sharon Strauss and her former grad student (and BioInv IGERT associate) Rick Lankau received the 2009 Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America. Congrats Sharon and Rick! Details in the press release

Workshop: The Williamson Act and Rangeland Conservation in California

This workshop, planned and implemented by the 2008-2009 REACH cohort, will bring together scientists from agencies and non-profits, government representatives, and landowners to discuss their perspectives on the Williamson Act and its impact on conservation and ranching in California. In addition, the REACH students will present their work on the impact of the Williamson Act on ranchers and ranch economies, preservation of open space, and implications of the loss of agricultural land for conservation.

For more information, see

Graduation time

Our trainees are fledging and leaving the nest! Check out the alumni page for details.

Fall 2010, core course

Multidiscplinary approaches to rapid environmental change
PBG 250A, CRN TBA(4 units)
T,Th 10:30-11:50 and F 1:10-2:00 (usually...see the syllabus for full information)
2320H Storer Hall
Kevin Rice, lead instructor;
Carole Hom, coordinator

IGERT women

Ski slopes and environmental degradation

Creating ski runs by cutting trees and grading the soil with a bulldozer increases their environmental impact far more than creating ski runs by merely cutting trees and shrubs, according to research done by Bioinvasions IGERT alumna Jennifer Burt and trainer Kevin Rice. Moreover, although graded runs can be used for skiing a week earlier than cleared runs, higher summer maintenance costs of graded runs may offset increases in revenue from early season skiing.


IGERT alumna advises California legislators on science policy

The inaugural class of California Science and Technology Policy fellows (2009-2010) includes Amber Wright, an alumna of the BioInv IGERT and pop bio grad group. This year-long fellowship allows Amber to help policy makers craft solutions to some of the scientific challenges that affect California.


Winter 2010, core course

Environmental Policy, Human Ecology, and Rapid Environmental Change
PBG 250B, CRN 54744 (4 units)
T,Th 10:30-11:50 and 1h TBA
2342 Storer Hall
Richard McElreath and Mark Lubell, lead instructors;
Carole Hom, coordinator

For the syllabus, please use the menus to go to the program and core course pages.

Fall 2009, core course

Multidiscplinary approaches to rapid environmental change
PBG 250A, CRN 34474 (4 units)
T,Th 10:30-11:50 and F 1:10-2:00
2320H Storer Hall
Ted Grosholz, lead instructor;
Carole Hom, coordinator

This is the first part of a two-quarter sequence in which students will gain exposure to a range of science and social science disciplines examining rapid environmental change. Students will be exposed to various disciplinary approaches to describing the responses of the natural and human spheres to the rapid environmental change of human provenance. These responses include organisms and ecosystems subject to rapid environmental change as well as the human endeavors and institutions that respond to those changes. We will focus on water as a linkage among California species, communities and ecosystems as it moves from the upper watersheds of the Sierras through the estuaries to the Pacific Ocean. Rapid environmental change is predicted to affect substantially California waters from the continental divide to the continental shelf, from summit to seamount, and from couloir to canyon as well as the people and populations that depend on these.

For more information, contact Carole Hom, clhom at ucdavis dot edu.

2009 Mercer Award of the Ecological Society of America

REACH PI Sharon Strauss and her former grad student (and BioInv IGERT associate) Rick Lankau received the 2009 Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America. Congrats Sharon and Rick! Details in the press release

Monique Borgerhoff Mulder's research profiled in the NYT

read the article

Spring 2009, seminar

Responsible Conduct of Research for Environmental Scientists
ECL 290, CRN 69930 (2 units)
Th 11-12:50, 2320H Storer Hall

Discuss issues in professional ethics with students in a seminar setting before you actually are confronted with them in real life. Led by Graduate Studies Associate Dean (and ecologist!) Ed Caswell Chen and Carole Hom (, with contributions from other faculty. Course topics will include statistics, data massaging and management; intellectual property: ownership, authorship, and money; manuscript reviewing; philosophical and practical considerations in mentor/mentee interactions; and the roles of scientists in society.

Winter 2009, core course

The Delta, peripheral canal, and the future of California.
PBG 250B, CRN 54448 (4 units) or
ECL 290, CRN 30013 (2 units)
M 4:10-6pm, 1130 Bainer Hall
F 10-11:50am, 127 Wellman Hall
Peter Moyle and Jay Lund, lead instructors; Carole Hom, coordinator

The focus of this class will be to provide an integrated view of Delta, its past, and its future, with a final debate on the social, environmental, economic, and political consequences of building – or not building – a peripheral canal. Assignments include a field trip, leading a discussion, writing a policy brief for a legislator, writing an op-ed, and participating in a debate on the Peripheral Canal.

For more information, download the tentative syllabus or email Carole Hom (clhom at ucdavis dot edu).

Fall 2008, core course

Multidiscplinary approaches to rapid environmental change
PBG 250A, CRN 84375, TR 9-10:20, 2320H Storer. Sharon Strauss, lead instructor; Carole Hom, coordinator

This course offers a broad multidisciplinary introduction to human and organismal responses to rapid environmental change. Students will consider evolutionary and behavioral responses of organisms to changing environments, and human responses to environmental problems. Environmental change can encompass habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, urbanization, and water regulation, and biological invasions. Human responses include considerations from environmental ethics, environmental justice, and communication to policymakers and non-specialists.

Specifically, PBG 250A will include lectures on climate change from the perspectives of geology, organismal biology, and conservation; species protection; environmental justice; ecosystem change and environmental ethics; cultural evolution; and communicating research to the public (note that PBG 250B, offered in Winter 2009, will integrate environmental history, economics, policy, management, and decision-making in the context of ecological impacts of changes to the California Delta).

For questions about PBG 250A, contact Carole Hom, the course coordinator, at clhom at ucdavis dot edu.

photo credits: left -- Sandhill cranes at the Cosumnes River Preserve, Louie Yang/UCSB;
top: Mono Pass, ©Marc Hoshovsky