Prospective Graduate Students

Thanks for your interest in the biology graduate program at Sonoma State and my research group.

I have diverse interests in population and community ecology and am particularly focused on the dynamics of biological invasions and plant-herbivore interactions. All of my research projects, as well as those of my students, emphasize the use of experiments in the field and have a strong plant focus (although insects, mammals and pathogens are often involved as well). In addition, much of my work has an applied emphasis and strives to provide science-based insights about the management and restoration of human-impacted landscapes. See my web page and publications for more details.

Typically I have 2-3 graduate students in my lab at any given time and work closely with each of them to develop and carry out conceptually important field projects that can be completed in 2 years and published in top-tier peer-reviewed journals.

Graduate education is all about students becoming rigorous scientists. They must be creative, self-motivated and develop expertise in the general themes of ecology as well as statistics, experimental design and the natural history their study system. Regardless of a student’s ultimate employment objective (academia, government, NGO, the private sector), the most fundamental goal of graduate education is to develop a deep understanding of the scientific process and how to practice it.

Graduate students in our program gain financial support from a wide range of sources. Many students serve as graduate teaching associates and receive fee waivers. Students are also awarded a variety of scholarships and fellowships from Sonoma State as well as research grants from local, state and federal agencies and private foundations and NGOs.

Students from my lab have gone on to a range of careers after completing their masters degrees at Sonoma State. Some have entered Ph.D. programs in ecology whereas others work as ecologists and resource managers for local, state and federal agencies as well as NGOs and environmental consulting firms. Whatever paths they choose, I am proud to see that my former graduate students have become important contributors in the scientific and resource management community.

Feel free to contact me about the possibility of working together in the graduate program at Sonoma State (email is best). Please include as much information as possible about your experience and interests, including a current resume as well as your GPA and GRE scores. If we appear to be a good match, I strongly suggest that you visit Sonoma State, meet with me, my graduate students and other faculty in the biology graduate program.

Once again, thanks for your interest in the graduate program in biology at Sonoma State and my research group.