On the Ground
A Sampling of Research in Parks
Research across the UC Berkeley campus that focuses on regional, state, and national parks. To read all 49 entries, go to parksnext100.berkeley.edu/research.
Michael Manga, professor, earth and planetary science, McCone Hall, studies volcanoes, geysers, and how earthquakes affect fluid flow in the crust. Lassen Volcanic National Park, Yellowstone National Park
Thomas Bruns, professor, plant and microbial biology (PMB), Koshland Hall, focuses on the ecology and evolution of fungi that form symbiotic associations with plant roots. Bruns also conducts surveys to catalog the macrofungi—those species visible without a microscope—present in the parks, collaborating with citizen scientists from local mycological societies. Point Reyes National Seashore, Yosemite National Park, Channel Islands National Park
Chelsea Specht, assistant professor, PMB and integrative biology, Koshland Hall, collects plants that are native to the park and surrounding areas and investigates the genetics underlying adaptation to environmental and interspecies interactions. Lassen Volcanic National Park
Vincent Resh, professor, environmental science, policy and management (ESPM), Wellman Hall, studies stream and river ecology and the monitoring and detection of pollutants. Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Samuel P. Taylor State Park
John Battles, professor, ESPM, Hilgard Hall, studies forest dynamics and tree demography. The goal of his research is to know how and why forests change. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, et al.
Patrick O’Grady, assistant professor, ESPM, Hilgard Hall, studies how biological diversity forms and is maintained in natural systems. His research focuses on the Hawaiian Drosophila, a group of over 1,000 species of flies, all of which are found only in Hawaii. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala- National Park, Koke’e State Park
Margaretta Lovell, professor, history of art, Doe Library, takes her students to Yosemite to discover the sites of 19th-century paintings of the valley. They analyze the aesthetic process of the artist as well as the ecological shifts in the landscape over the course of a century. Yosemite National Park
Ian Duncan, professor, English, Wheeler Hall, is the editor of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel The Lost World for Oxford University Press (2008). He has argued that Yellowstone is a prototype for Doyle’s Amazonian lost world, and that the story is informed by a rising discourse of species extinction and protected spaces. Yellowstone National Park
Reginald Barrett, professor emeritus, ESPM, Mulford Hall, researches ecology and management issues of specific wildlife species, including the response of wildlife to thinning and prescribed burning in the Sierra Nevada, the population ecology of fishers in the southern Sierra, and the comparative population dynamics of two tule elk populations. Point Reyes National Seashore, Yosemite National Park, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park
Kevin O’Hara, professor, ESPM, Mulford Hall, researches the ecology and management of redwood forests. Redwood National and State Parks, Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Marin Municipal Watershed
Roger Bales, adjunct professor, civil and environmental engineering, Sutardja Dai Hall, is the principal investigator at the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory, a multicampus program. Yosemite National Park, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
Nicholas Sitar, Edward G. Cahill and John R. Cahill Professor of Civil Engineering, Davis Hall, researches rock-fall and rock-slide hazard identification, monitoring, and prediction. Yosemite National Park
Philip Stark, professor and chair, statistics, Evans Hall, researches the impact of pack animals on the Yosemite toad, a protected species, and the implications for managing land use in Yosemite. Yosemite National Park
Khatharya Um, associate professor and chair, ethnic studies, Stephens Hall, serves on the advisory panel for the National Park Service’s Asian American Pacific Islander Theme Study, a project investigating the stories, places, and culture of people of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage. Her research includes work with Oakland’s Peralta Hacienda Historical Park for an exhibit about Cambodian refugees in Northern California. Peralta Hacienda Historical Park
David Vogel, professor, political science, Haas School of Business, is currently researching and writing a history of environmental policy in California that includes material on local, state, and national parks in California. California parks
Jennifer Wolch, professor and William W. Wurster Dean, city and regional planning, Wurster Hall, addresses park access and environmental justice. Her recent research analyzes connections between urban design, physical activity, and public health, and she develops strategies to improve access to urban parks and recreational resources. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Eric Biber, professor, law, Simon Hall, conducts research on public land management, including how to best structure public land management agencies to ensure higher-quality monitoring and how to structure legal and regulatory systems to ensure effective adaptation to climate change by public land managers.
Kent Lightfoot, professor, anthropology, Kroeber Hall, focuses on archaeology, both precolonial and colonial periods. Pinnacles National Park, Año Nuevo State Park, Fort Ross State Historic Park, Sonoma State Historic Park