Principal Investigator--Virginia Matzek
Virginia received her B.A. in political science and an M.S. in environmental science, policy, and management from UC Berkeley, where she worked with soil scientist Ron Amundson on nitrogen cycling in young tropical island soils. She did her Ph.D. with ecosystem ecologist Peter Vitousek at Stanford, studying ecological stoichiometry in the pygmy forest ecosystem of Mendocino County. She is generally interested in the functional ecology of plants; interactions among plants, soils and the atmosphere; how humans intervene in these interactions through the introduction of invasive species or the restoration of degraded ecosystems; and what impacts these actions have on ecosystem services.
As a restoration ecologist she also is passionate about applying scientific research to practical problems of the environment, translating scientific knowledge into conservation actions, understanding motivations for conservation, and improving communication and collaboration between scientists, stakeholders, and the general public. Her approach to these questions range across disciplines, from ecology, biogeochemistry, and conservation biology to economics, behavioral science, and policy. Click to download her CV or visit the departmental website.
Lab Members & Alumni
PEARCE ROPION '19
Pearce is a computer engineering student who programmed the web application for the California Riparian Ecosystems Estimator for Carbon, or CREEC. Pearce's work to make the design simple and intuitive for the user unfamiliar with carbon accounting impressed the tool's contractor, the California Department of Conservation.
SOPHIA HUANG '16
Sophia's interest in urban trees for made her a good fit for our project to make a user-friendly, foolproof field guide to the urban forest. Her plant ID skills and her sharp eye for a good photograph were great at helping the citizens of Santa Clara correctly identify trees in the city. She's now in a master's program in horticulture.
ELLIE PRINGLE '15
Ellie, a public health major, conducted a litter decomposition experiment to test recovery of ecosystem function along the chronosequence of restoration sites on the Sacramento River.
SHAWN WARREN '14
Shawn studied carbon and nitrogen mineralization in soils along our Sacramento River restoration age sequence. He presented his work at ESA in August 2014 and is now working for FoLAR, the Friends of the LA River, as a policy analyst.
COLLEEN FISHER '14
Colleen's project, funded by a Clare Booth Luce Scholarship, was to measure the role of fine roots and litterfall in N cycling. She presented her work at ESA in August 2014 and after graduation enrolled in Cal Poly Pomona's Regenerative Studies program.
MAILE PUJALET '14
Maile's research experience ranged from investigating the gonorrhea pathogen to extracting soil cores in riparian forests. For our bibliographic survey, she read more than 175 peer-reviewed journal articles on invasive species!
MAT JORDAN '15
Mat, a pre-vet student at California State University, Chico, was on the Sac River field crew. When not wielding a machete, he swings a mean lacrosse stick.
RUSTY HUTTO '14
Rusty was our resident ornithologist during our Sac River field summer.
GUILHERME CARVALHO, MS '15
Guilherme came all the way from Fortaleza, Brazil, to help us map trees in the city of Santa Clara while earning a master's degree in computer engineering at SCU.
TIAN ZHANG '17
Tian was our mobile applications whiz, who figured out how to make an iPhone actually measure a tree's diameter! He's from Shenzhen, China.
JUSTIN COVINO '13
Justin, handy with a slingshot and even better with a disc, worked on our Sac River crew and in the lab. He now works in environmental education.
TESSA CODE '13
Tessa, field crew extraordinaire, also chased willow beetles in the Sierra in 2013, but her first love was always marine biology. She now tracks sea turtles in the Caribbean.
ASHLEY CIGLAR '13
Ashley, our token engineer, worked on Sac River field crew, and now studies mechanical engineering at UC Riverside.
SOPHIA CRESCI '13
Sophia was a mainstay of the bibliographic research project. She now works for Cisco.