Sessions and Speakers

Emerging threats to biodiversity

Edith Allen, Ph.D.

Edith B. Allen, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Plant Ecology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on restoration ecology, soil ecology, and invasive species ecology in various California habitats. She studies impacts of invasive species, nitrogen deposition, and other ecological perturbations on biodiversity decline as well as restoration. She participates in a USGS Powell Center Working Group on Nitrogen Deposition and Plant Diversity, serves on several editorial boards, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the California Invasive Plant Council.

David Holway, Ph.D.

David Holway, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of the section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. Research in his lab focuses on two areas: (1) the ecological effects of social insect invasions, and (2) how environmental change affects pollination services. Ongoing work investigates the ecological impacts of non-native honeybees on native ecosystems and the recovery of native ant assemblages following landscape-scale removal of the non-native Argentine ant.

Anny Peralta Garcia Ph.D.

Anny Peralta, Ph.D. , is the executive director and co-founder of Fauna del Noroeste, a non-profit organization dedicated to research for conservation in northwest Mexico, in Ensenada, Baja California. Her research focuses on the distribution, threats, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. She is now working on a recovery plan for Baja California populations of Red-legged frogs, including habitat restoration and exotic species removal. She is also a Board member of the Mexican Herpetology Society.

Shannon C. Lynch

Shannon C. Lynch is a Forest Pathologist and Ph.D. candidate in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. With a focus on invasive pests and pathogens of trees, she is working on the impact of shothole borer-induced Fusarium dieback. This new pest-disease complex is threatening California native forests as well as the avocado industry in southern California. She is researching factors controlling the landscape spread of this pest-disease complex and best methods for its management.

Genomics and Conservation

Chris Funk, Ph.D.

Chris Funk, Ph.D., studies evolutionary and ecological mechanisms that generate and maintain biodiversity by combining population genomics, experimental manipulations, and field studies in the Department of Biology at Colorado State University. His lab has several ongoing projects on the conservation genomics of Channel Island species, including the island fox, the island night lizard, the Pacific chorus frog, the island scrub-jay, and the Channel Islands song sparrow. This research will provide critical information for making sound policy and management decisions.

Marshal Hedin, Ph.D.

Marshal Hedin, Ph.D., heads a research group working on arachnid diversity and evolution within the Evolutionary Biology group at San Diego State University, with a particular focus on mygalomorph spiders and Opiliones (harvestmen). The Hedin research lab has an emphasis on molecular phylogeography and phylogenetics and is currently using next-generation sequencing technology to study species delimitation in federally listed endangered species.

Megan Supple, Ph.D.

Megan Supple, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Santa Cruz Paleogenomics Lab. Her research interests are broad, but are particularly oriented to the use of genomics tools in biodiversity conservation. Her recent research focuses on using patterns of genomic variation in Eucalyptus melliodor to inform the restoration of a critically endangered natural community in Australia.

Amy Vandergast, Ph.D.

Amy Vandergast, Ph.D., is a research geneticist with the Western Ecological Research Center, USGS, in San Diego, leading a research program in conservation and landscape genetics and genomics. Her work investigates how natural and human induced landscape and environmental change impacts population parameters and shapes evolutionary potential. Her research also seeks to merge genetic data with mapping and modeling tools to inform biodiversity conservation efforts in new ways.

Conservation Stories of Success and Struggle

Alison Anderson, Ph.D.

Alison Anderson, Ph.D., is an entomologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Carlsbad. Her research focuses on the impact of climate change on regional endangered species, particularly the Quino Checkerspot butterfly.

Ida Naughton

Ida Naughton is a Ph.D. candidate in the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego. She is the field crew leader for on an ongoing Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) eradication program on Santa Cruz Island, and is researching the capacity of native ant assemblages to recover structure and function following Argentine ant removal. Ida is also using phylogenomics to reconstruct patterns of evolutionary diversification of carpenter ants (Camponotus) on the California Channel Islands.

Lorenzo Rojas de Bracho, Ph.D.

Lorenzo Rojas de Bracho, Ph.D., heads the Coordinación de Investigación y Conservación de Mamíferos Marinos in Mexico currently commissioned to the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP). His research focuses on the vaquita, the world’s most critically endangered marine small cetacean, including the study of risk factors, population genetics, population status, and conservation. He chairs the International Committee for the recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), established by the government of Mexico for recommendation of measures for the recovery of the vaquita.

Scott Tremor

Scott Tremor is a mammalogist at the San Diego Natural History Museum, where he has worked since 2004, after 16 years of experience with the mammal collection at the San Diego Zoo. Since 2003 he has organized and supervised studies of the effects of wildfire on mammals in San Diego County, and has used museum collections and historic documents to rediscover species thought to be extinct. Scott is the editor and principal author of the recently published San Diego County Mammal Atlas.

Biodiversity and Landscape

Sergio Avila

Sergio Avila is a wildlife biologist with the Sierra Club Outdoors in Tucson, Arizona. For twenty years, Sergio has worked on local and regional conservation efforts along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, as a conservation scientist, wildlife researcher and facilitator of bi-national conservation projects. He has led collaborative efforts on connectivity for wildlife, habitat restoration, public education, and interpretation in the U.S. southwest and northwest Mexico.

Lori Hargrove, Ph.D.

Lori Hargrove, Ph.D., is an ecologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum in the Birds and Mammals department. One focus of her research has been on elevational shifts of bird species and the mechanisms involved, including response to fire and climate change. She is interested in the distribution, habitat requirements, and biodiversity of chaparral and desert scrub bird species in California, including the Gray Vireo.

James Hung, Ph.D.

K. James Hung, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University. James’s research while working on his Ph.D. at University of California, San Diego, examined the impacts of habitat fragmentation in San Diego County on the diversity and ecological function of native pollinator assemblages, specifically native bees. He has examined how patterns of bee species loss influence plant-pollinator interaction network structure and the quality of pollination services rendered to native plant species in these habitat fragments.

Alexandra Syphard, Ph.D.

Alexandra Syphard, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist with the Conservation Biology Institute in Corvallis, Oregon and San Diego. She is interested in the interaction of human and natural disturbances, particularly wildfire, urban development, and climate change, in addition to the effect of multiple global change threats on plant species distributions. She uses spatial analytical and modeling methods to investigate how change has occurred in the past, how it might occur in the future, and what ecological impacts are likely to result. Her recent research focuses on variation in human and climatic drivers of fire activity across California and the continental United States.