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. Click to download her CV or visit the departmental website.
Lab Members & Lab Alumni
SOPHIA HUANG '16
Sophia has been interested in urban trees for several years, making 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 are helping the citizens of Santa Clara correctly identify trees in the city.
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 is headed to Cal Poly Pomona's Regenerative Studies program this fall.
MAILE PUJALET '14
Maile's research experience ranges 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. More recently, he's been watching birds for SCU Gone Wild.
GUILHERME CARVALHO, MS '15
Guilherme came all the way from Fortaleza, Brazil, to help us map trees in the city of Santa Clara. He's earning a master's degree in computer engineering at SCU.
TIAN ZHANG '17
Tian is 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.
DANA JOHNSTON '14
Dana helped out in the lab in her senior year. She spent part of her junior year in Burkina Faso, creating books for village libraries.
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.