Department of Botany & Plant Sciences

Ecology, Evolution and Systematics


Ecology faculty study plant ecology across the continuum from organismal, community to whole ecosystem levels and look for integration across these scales. We have interests in diverse biomes from drylands to tropical environments and work in wildland, agricultural, and urban dominated land uses throughout the world. Our research is directed towards expanding basic understanding that develops and tests new theoretical approaches as well as applying our research to enhancing conservation of native species, reducing the invasion of exotics, and improving the provisioning of ecosystem services.

Evolution and Systematics examines the evolutionary relationships among plant species, the evolutionary history of genetic elements, and the consequences of evolutionary changes on plant adaptation, gene function, and genome structure. The time scale can be as short as a single generation (microevolution) to hundreds or millions of generations (macroevolution). We use a combination of experimental, molecular, and comparative approaches and we study evolutionary changes in both natural systems and those under human disturbance or management.


Edith Allen

ALLEN, Edith B.

Professor of Plant Ecology; Cooperative Extension Specialist in Conservation Biology; Department Vice Chair


Effects of invasive species on native vegetation, weed competition and succession, restoration ecology and mycorrhizal fungi, effects of urbanization and agriculture on native ecosystems

Michael Allen

ALLEN, Michael

Professor of Plant Pathology; Director of Center for Conservation Biology (Cooperating Faculty Member)


Regulation of community and ecosystem processes by soil organisms with special emphasis on mycorrhizal fungi. Current research concentrates on global change dynamics and structure of undisturbed areas, and how that information can be utilized in the conservation and restoration of native ecosystems.

Jeffrey Diez

DIEZ, Jeffrey

Assistant Professor of Plant Ecology/Plant Ecologist


Plant Community Ecology with emphasis on climate change effects on phenology shifts, shifts in distributions, and plant invasions.

Norman Ellstrand


Professor of Genetics


Applied population genetics emphasizing gene flow and its role in evolution of invasiveness, extinction, and transgene dispersal.

Exequiel Ezcurra

EZCURRA, Exequiel

Professor of Ecology/Director of UC Mexus


Conservation science, ecology and biogeography of coastal deserts, land-ocean interactions and their impact on marine and terrestrial environments
Jodie Holt

HOLT, Jodie S.

Divisional Dean Agriculture and Natural Resources & Professor of Plant Physiology


Physiological and population ecology of invasive exotic weeds in wildlands and agricultural weeds in croplands, ecological approches for weed management.
G. Darrel Jenerette


Associate Professor of Landscape Ecology


Ecological scaling, coupled biogeochemical cycles, terrestrial aquatic linkages, ecosystem responses to altered precipitation regimes, societal-biophysical interactions

Larry Li

LI, Bai-Lian (Larry)

Professor of Plant Ecology


Quantitative Plant Ecology; Ecological Complexity and Modeling; Theoretical and Mathematical Ecology; Systems Ecology; Landscape Ecology; Computational Biology; Ecological Informatics

Carol Lovatt

LOVATT, Carol J.

Professor of Plant Physiology


Regulation of flowering, fruit set, and fruit development of citrus, avocado, other subtropical tree crops, and pistachio. Role of hormones and nutrition in regulating these processes.  Abiotic stress physiology.

Adam Lukaszewski


Professor of Genetics


Cytogenetics of crop plants, Meiotic chromosome pairing

Mikeal Roose

ROOSE, Mikeal L. 

Department Chair & Professor of Genetics


Genetics, genomics and breeding of citrus and asparagus; linkage mapping; marker assisted breeding; evolutionary relationships of cultivated citrus.

Joel Sachs

SACHS, Joel L.

Associate Professor of Biology (Cooperating Faculty Member)


Investigate the forces that shape bacterial cooperation with hosts as well as the origins and evolution of harmful strains. Current focus is on rhizobial bacteria that live in soils throughout the world and nodulate the roots of many legume hosts.
Louis Santiago


Associate Professor of Physiological Ecosystem Ecology


Environmental Physiology, Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Physiology, Stable Isotopes, and Tropical Biology
Jason Stajich


Assistant Professor & Assistant Bioinformaticist (Cooperating Faculty Member)


We are interested in the set of genes that are required to synthesize, maintain, and remodel the cell wall as part of growth, response to stress, and developmental programs.

J. Giles Waines

WAINES, J. Giles

Professor of Genetics


Root genetics, plant genetics, evolution, plant breeding, components of yield, wheat and legumes.

Susan Wessler


Distingished Professor of Genetics


Transposable elements in plants with a focus on the characterization of active transposable elements and a determination of how they contribute to genome evolution and adaptation.


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Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department of Botany & Plant Sciences
2142 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-4619
Fax: (951) 827-4437
E-mail: bpschair@ucr.edu

Plant Biology Graduate Program
CNAS Grad Student Affairs Office
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Toll: (800) 735-0717
Tel: (951) 827-5688
Fax: (951) 827-5517
E-mail: Laura.mcgeehan@ucr.edu