Conferring at a research symposium
Undergrad reseachers in summer 2009

Solutions to environmental problems require new networks of collaboration and collective action that transcend differences among individuals, disciplines, and institutions. Our trainers’ collective expertise in natural sciences, social sciences, law, and policy allow us to explore the abilities of both organisms and human decision-making organizations to adapt to rapid environmental change. Trainees in the REACH IGERT will become citizen-scientists proficient in the multidisciplinary perspectives needed to address the complex relationships between humans and environmental problems that often are further complicated by the speed of rapid environmental change.

Specific areas of inquiry in REACH include...

  • biological responses to rapid environmental change
    • plant evolutionary responses to elevated CO2
    • hybridization and "genetic pollution"
    • evolution, dispersal, and ecological reserve design
  • human adaptation and decision-making in a changing world
    • environmental economics
    • ecological rationality
    • cooperation and collaboration
  • linking information, institutions, and policy
    • adaptive management
    • information flow

"Early in my Ph.D., I planned a dissertation on the ecological components of the genetic diversity in the wild relative of maize, teosinte. The social science skills I gained from my IGERT core courses and cohort project gave me the confidence I needed to include a chapter in my dissertation based on farmer interviews. Information from these interviews has helped to clarify the meaning of patterns of genetic diversity I have observed and has made it possible for me to suggest realistic conservation strategies for teosinte." - Matthew Hufford, Biological Invasions IGERT 2004 cohort

photo credits: left -- Cronan Ranch on the South Fork of the American River, ©Norma
Echabarne, American River Conservancy; top: Summit Lake, Neil Willits/UC Davis