Undergraduate Research Intern Interest Form

This form is intended to give us the basics on your experience and interests. Depending on our hiring opportunities, we will contact you to request more information. If you're interested in opportunities to participate in the research in our lab, please fill out this form

Summer-Fall 2023

  • Two of our graduate students received $100k grants from CAL FIRE to fund their research! Nina Venuti for her proposal, "Tracking multi-decadal patterns of conifer phenology to support wild seed collection for post-fire reforestation". And Jenny Cribbs for her proposal, "The effects of multiple disturbances on tree resilience to climate change". Congratulations Nina and Jenny! 
  • Paige Kouba's curriculum for introductory ecology (which she taught multiple times as lead instructor) has become a go-to resource for teaching intro ecology and evolution classes at UC Davis. Congrats Paige and thanks for your hard work improving our undergraduate teaching. 

  • Job updates for lab alums: Joan Dudney is Assistant Professor at UC Santa Barbara; Emily Brodie is leading the prescribed fire monitoring and analysis program for CAL FIRE; Mike Koontz is a full-time Scientist at Vibrant Planet; Derek Young is back full time at UC Davis and going up for promotion to Associate Professional Researcher. 

Spring-Summer 2022

  • Coming soon: a lab form for undergrads to use to indicate potential interest in working with members of the lab. Our goal is to lower the barrier to expressing interest and broaden the number and range of candidates we can consider when new internship and/or employment opportunities open up. 
  • More new papers: Hannah Fertel's paper (with Jan Ng!) on spatial patterns of tree seedling regeneration in frequent-fire forests. 
  • Funding news: CALFIRE's Forest Health Grant Program awarded two new grants to support our projects: One led by Derek Young is funding research on early posture dynamics in the 2020 and 2021 wildfires. This project will also help support Nina Venuti's related research on how fire injury affects tree cone and seed production. The other led by Andrew is a collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to use our field data to improve the FATES ecosystem model and use it to evaluate climate change and management scenarios for California forests. Field crews for both projects are just getting started to visit a range of fires from old ones that burned >20 years ago up to new 2021 fires.
  • Paige Kouba has begun running an experiment at Quail Ridge to test effects of elevated CO2 on oak seedlings. She's also lead instructor for one of our undergraduate ecology courses in S2022.
  • Emily Brodie, who will graduate this June, has accepted a postdoctoral research position with the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 research division.


What we're doing

We study how plant populations and communities respond to change, including sudden, major disturbance such as fire and drought, as well as more gradual changes in climate. At the shortest time scales, we are focusing on how communities and populations respond to drought, fire, and competition. Over longer time scales, we study local adaptation to gradients in climatic conditions and to variability in those conditions. We collectively study all kinds of plants (forbs to forests), and things they interact with (beetles, pathogens, fungi, microbes, humans), and aim to learn by comparing the dynamics of different plant systems. We are excited about new tools, including using drone photography and machine learning, that may allow us to extend some of our research methods and ask questions at larger scales. But we stay true to the idea that the core role of scientists is to ask questions and try to answer them by collecting and analyzing data. We think and talk a lot these days about how we can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation in our multiple roles as researchers, teachers, and citizens.