A Letter from the Dean

Photo of Dean David Ackerly.

Whenever I’m out hiking, I like to log on to the iNaturalist app to create a record of some of the notable flora or fauna I’ve observed. From a delicate deer mushroom in Tilden Park to the dew-covered live oak leaves in Pepperwood Preserve, it’s all there, captured and shared with a global community of scientists and naturalists at the tap of a few icons. My entries have become a natural history diary of my life outdoors. A few years ago, I worked with an undergraduate student on a project using iNaturalist records, and among the observations we pulled was one of my own uploads from a weekend hike. We published a paper on the study in 2015. Talk about full-circle citizen science!

Citizen science has emerged over the past two decades as an increasingly popular approach for researchers in many fields. Mobilizing networks of nonscientist observers makes it possible to obtain data faster, in larger quantities, and from locations that weren’t accessible before—and along with the data gathering come educational and outreach opportunities.

During my first year as dean, I’ve been excited to learn about numerous citizen science endeavors taking place in the College. This issue of Breakthroughs highlights many of these partnerships between CNR scientists and the volunteers who help them assemble powerful data sets for projects related to conservation biology, phenology, forest health, human-wildlife conflict, and more. Some of the projects utilize technology, and others rely simply on paper and pencil, but all share the goals of advancing research and creating connections between the scientific community and the public.

We hope you’ll enjoy reading about these collaborations and even consider getting involved yourself.

I welcome your feedback at dackerly@berkeley.edu.

David D. Ackerly

Spring 2019 Masthead


David D. Ackerly


Julie Gipple

Associate Editor

Mackenzie Smith

Creative Director

Ian Price

Copy Editor

Lynn Rapoport

Contributing Writers

Meredith Fowlie
Julie Gipple
Ann Brody Guy
Mary Ellen Hannibal
Tom Levy
Kara Manke
Nate Seltenrich
Mackenzie Smith

Contributing Photographers and Illustrators

Jim Block
Elizabeth Cash
Maya Edelman
Eva Guralnick
Gregory Ira
Roberto Keller-Pérez
Nicholas Kooyers
Lawrence Luk
Richard Morgenstein
Liam O’Brien
Jenni Peters

Design & Production

Price Watkins Media

Online Director

Joseph Bunik

Online Production

Lindsey Pfeiffer,
Natalea Schager

© 2019 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Breakthroughs is a registered trademark.

Please direct correspondence to:

College of Natural Resources
University of California, Berkeley
760 University Hall #3100
Berkeley, CA