Home » Research


Sampling in an eelgrass flat at low tide, Rebecca Best/UC Davis

EEGAP scholars will work with faculty members in the Department of Evolution and Ecology and Center for Population Biology at UC Davis. Potential research topics range from population structure of marine invertebrates to courtship rituals in sage grouse to the evolutionary ecology of plants, their mutualist partners, and their natural enemies…and more!

Students who participate in the EEGAP program will begin by preparing for research during the academic year via monthly videoconferences with their designated faculty mentors. Mentors and students will read and discuss the appropriate literature, consider possible areas of focus for summer research, and connect research preparation to the student’s coursework.

I felt like a grad student for most of the summer. The type of work and responsibility given to me was at graduate level and I had to meet that level to be successful. From setting up the experimental design to data collection, I had to monitor and account for possible errors and be able to correct them at a moment’s notice. While I [had been] sure I could carry out an experiment by myself, this summer I actually proved it to be true and I am a great deal more confident as a result.

UC Davis Faculty Mentors

nann Nann Fangue focuses on determining the ecological significance of physiological variation in animals that inhabit dynamic environments. She studies a variety of aquatic species, often those living in naturally extreme or anthropogenically-challenging habitats, and addresses both questions in fundamental biology and applied conservation.
jennygremer Jennifer Gremer investigates how species’ traits interact with the environment to affect performance and how those patterns influence population and community dynamics. She uses a combination of physiology and demography to understand processes such as life history evolution, population dynamics, and the maintenance of diversity in communities.
rick_200x176 Rick Grosberg‘s research centers on understanding the behavioral, ecological, cellular, developmental, and genetic mechanisms that limit conflict and promote the evolution of cooperation. He focuses primarily on marine organisms, using field and lab experiments, molecular genetics, population genetics, and phylogenetics, plus a very modest amount of modelling.

Dr. Grosberg received the 2000-2001 Division of Biological Sciences teaching award; 2003 UC Davis Academic Senate Citation for Distinguished Teaching; and the 2010 UC Davis Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ben Houlton uses basic knowledge about biotic interactions with the earth’s chemistry to work toward global sustainability. Students in his lab work in a variety ecosystems – from desert to rainforest – and across scales ranging from bacteria to the biosphere. His research has been profiled by venues such as MSNBC’s Today and NPR’s Morning Edition.
brian_300x235 Brian Johnson studies the biology of honeybees. He uses an integrative approach to examine traits of honeybees at all leves — from genes, to ecology, to behavior. His research will help entomologists and beekeepers understand factors that underlie a healthy population of bees or that influence phenomena such as colony collapse disorder. Dr. Johnson joined the UC Davis Entomology faculty in 2011 following postdocs at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and the University of Bristol in the UK.
gail_200x158 Gail Patricelli studies animal communication and sexual selection, with a focus on understanding the amazing diversity and complexity in animal signals. Most of her research involves birds, primarily sage grouse and songbirds. Her research tools include robotic birds used to elicit and record behavioral responses from real sage grouse. Dr. Patricelli and this research have been profiled by the National Science Foundation via the “Science Nation” website and the PBS series “Nature.”

Dr. Patricelli received the UC Davis Chancellor’s Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research in 2012.

santiago_ramirez Santiago Ramirez studies the adaptations, speciation processes, and ecological determinants that influence insect-plant associations, with a particular interest in the euglossine bees that pollinate neotropical orchids. His work combines ecological genomics, molecular phylogenetics, population genetics, chemical ecology, and natural history. Dr. Ramirez joined the UC Davis faculty in Evolution and Ecology in 2012, after a postdoc at UC Berkeley and PhD at Harvard.
annie Joanna Schmitt moved her lab from Brown University to UC Davis in 2011. She examines the ecological and genomic mechanisms that underlie plastic responses to the environment, and evolutionary adaptation to environmental change. She ultimately seeks to develop a framework for predicting trait expression in novel environments, and forecast patterns of population persistence and evolutionary response to a changing climate.
sebastian_200x200 Sebastian Schreiber is a theoretical ecologist and mathematician whose research interests focus on understanding the feedbacks between community structure, population dynamics, and evolutionary processes. He works on both theoretical problems and questions derived in close collaboration with experimental ecologists. He uses techniques from dynamical systems and stochastic processes in conjunction with numerical simulations.
jay_200x253 Jay Stachowicz addresses the ecological causes and consequences of biodiversity in marine communities. He uses seaweeds and marine invertebrates as experimental subjects and has conducted research involving a diverse suite of invertebrate taxa including corals, hydroids, crabs, echinoderms, polychaetes, ascidians, bryozoans, and gastropods. His specific areas of focus include the effects of species diversity on communities and ecosystems, ecological consequences of genetic diversity, positive interactions and mutualisms, and the ecology and evolution of decorator crabs.

Dr. Stachowicz received the College of Biological Sciences teaching award in 2010-2011 and the UC Davis Academic Senate Citation for Distinguished Teaching in 2012.

sharon_200x170 Sharon Strauss‘ research interests lie in evolutionary community ecology, from micro- to macroevolutionary perspectives. She explores evolution in traits that are subject to selection from both biotic and abiotic influences, focusing on plants and plant interactions with herbivores, pollinators, and mycorrhizae. Dr. Strauss includes both contemporary and historical approaches — field research, laboratory studies, and phylogenetic reconstruction — to understand ecological processes and community assembly, with particular focus on the ecology and evolution of serpentine endemics.

Dr. Strauss received the UC Davis Academic Senate Citation for Distinguished Graduate Teaching in 2013.

anne_todgham Anne Todgham studies the molecular, biochemical and physiological mechanisms that underlie an animal’s capacity to cope with environmental change. Her current research program has an eye towards global climate change and addresses the general question of whether contemporary animals have the physiological flexibility necessary to buffer the unprecedented rates of environmental change, specifically their response to changes in multiple environmental variables.
peter_200x153 Peter Wainwright studies the interface between evolution, ecology and functional morphology using fishes as model organisms. Most of his research focuses on the feeding biology of fishes, including questions about complexity, diversity, and plasticity of design. He also generates and uses phylogenies to address questions about the history of various fish groups, including their functional morphology.

Dr. Wainwright received the Division of Biological Sciences teaching award in 2008-2009 and the UC Davis Academic Senate Citation for Distinguished Teaching in 2009.

louie Louie Yang examines how ecological communities combine complex, coordinated and changing interactions over time. His research includes studies of community responses to strong perturbation events such as hurricanes, the phenology of seasonal community assembly, stage-structured species interactions, and the effects of climate change on the timing of species interactions.
“Dr. Grosberg fostered an environment in which we were challenged to accomplish more than any of us could have ever imagined.” – Flora Rutaganira

Center for Population Biology
One Shields Avenue | Davis, CA 95616





"When I received the announcement, I almost couldn't even believe it. It's been an interesting week with the UCD PhD acceptance and midterms, but I am truly excited about finally being able to do what I love full-time."