Erika Zavaleta to deliver 2021 Odum Lecture

Beth Gavrilles
Erika Zavaleta

Athens, Ga. – Ecosystem and community ecologist Erika Zavaleta will deliver the thirty-fifth annual Odum Lecture at the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology. Her talk, “The interdependence of biological and cultural diversity,” will take at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, via Zoom. The lecture is free and open to all; please fill out this form to be added to the EcoSeminar listserv to receive the link.

Zavaleta, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz, studies how environmental change intersects with biodiversity, ecosystem function and conservation. She and her team, the Conservation Science and Solutions Lab, take an integrative and collaborative approach to research, linking ecological theory, training, and effective and equitable conservation practice.

Her current work includes studies of how climate change is affecting breeding birds in mountain regions of North America, implications of land use changes in California for the ecology and conservation of bats, and the effectiveness of forest conservation practices in Nepal and Brazil.

Zavaleta helped establish and serves as faculty director of UCSC’s Center to Advance Mentored, Inquiry-based Opportunities (CAMINO) and Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, which are both designed to create an inclusive community and provide field-based research opportunities for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds studying ecology and conservation.

Zavaleta is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and of the California Academy of Sciences and is a recipient of the ESA’s Sustainability Science Award. She has published more than 90 peer-reviewed papers, journal articles, and book chapters and is the coauthor of the award winning 2017 textbook Ecosystems of California.

“It is an honor to host Professor Zavaleta for the prestigious Odum Lecture,” said John L. Gittleman, UGA Foundation Professor in Ecology and dean of the Odum School. “Professor Zavaleta’s research is timely and necessary, as we must improve our understanding of terrestrial ecosystems and communities so that biodiversity and human well-being are healthy, sustainable and evolutionarily secure.”

Honoring the founder of the Odum School of Ecology, the annual Eugene P. Odum Lecture Series features speakers who address significant ecological questions in broad social and intellectual contexts. Previous Odum lectures have been delivered by preeminent scholars, more than half of whom have been members of the National Academy of Sciences or Royal Society Fellows, including Hopi Hoekstra, Nancy Grimm, Mary Power, Thomas Schoener, Marlene Zuk, James Brown, Peter Raven, Thomas Lovejoy, and then-director of the National Science Foundation Rita Colwell.