Ecologist Erika Zavaleta elected Fellow of the Ecological Society of America

Erika Zavaleta (photo by Matt Kroll)

Erika Zavaleta, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, has been elected as a fellow of the Ecological Society of America in recognition of her contributions to the science of ecology.

ESA Fellows are members who have made outstanding contributions to a wide range of fields served by the society.

Zavaleta was honored "for high impact research in basic plant community ecology, the interface of community dynamics and ecosystem function, comprehensive analyses of major conservation challenges for islands and boreal ecosystems, and integration of sociological factors into assessments of agricultural ecosystems."

Zavaleta's research focuses on terrestrial ecosystems and plant communities, links between biodiversity and human well-being, and the implications of interacting global and regional environmental changes. She works with a wide range of nongovernmental organizations, government agencies, land managers, and community members to connect strong science to effective action. Zavaleta is also dedicated to mentoring future leaders in ecology and conservation. She founded the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at UC Santa Cruz and received funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for a program to increase student access to research-based field courses and internships.

The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world's largest community of professional ecologists and is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000-member society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives.