Paul Koch honored as a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences

UCSC alumnus Joseph DeRisi is also among the new academy fellows

paul koch
Paul Koch  (Photo by C. Lagattuta)

Paul Koch, dean of physical and biological sciences and a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, has been selected by the California Academy of Sciences to join the ranks of Academy Fellows, a governing group of around 300 distinguished scientists who have made notable contributions to one or more of the natural sciences.

Koch joins 28 other UCSC faculty as fellows of the academy, as well as four more who are honorary fellows. Also among the 10 new fellows is UCSC alumnus Joseph DeRisi, professor and vice chair of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF. The new fellows were inducted at a meeting of the academy on October 8.

Koch's research focuses on the ecology of vertebrates, which he reconstructs using biogeochemistry and other tools. He studies how ecology influences evolutionary pattern and process in vertebrates, as well as their susceptibility to extinction. He is the author of more than 100 papers and has worked on a wide variety of organisms, including Pleistocene megafauna, early Cenozoic mammals, and marine and carnivorous mammals, among others. He has done field work in North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Antarctica.

Koch received B.A. degrees in geological sciences and literature from the University of Rochester and an M.S. and Ph.D. in geological sciences from the University of Michigan. He had postdoctoral fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and the Geophysical Laboratory, and was an assistant professor of geosciences at Princeton University before joining the UCSC faculty in 1996. Koch received the Charles Schuchert Award from the Paleontological Society in 1998 and is a Fellow of both the Paleontological Society and the Geological Society of America.

The California Academy of Sciences is a multifaceted scientific institution committed to leading-edge research, to educational outreach, and to finding new and innovative ways to engage and inspire the public. It was founded in 1853 to conduct natural science research. Today, the academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability continues to discover, document, and share knowledge of the natural world.