Caroline E. Christian

Professor and Adjunct Faculty in Biology - On Leave
Ph.D. Population Biology, University of California - Davis, 2002

Postdoctoral Training:

University of California at Santa Cruz and the David H. Smith Post-doctoral Research Fellowship

Research Interests:

Plant Community Ecology, Plant-animal Interactions, Invasion Biology, Restoration Ecology, Disease Ecology, Conservation Science and Planning

My research focuses on key issues in conservation and restoration, and the use of applied systems to test fundamental ideas in ecology. Much of my current field research evaluates the effectiveness of different tools for managing and restoring terrestrial ecosystems invaded by exotic plant species. I work with a wide range of NGOs, government agencies, land managers and community members to implement science-based conservation planning and land management.

Currently, I am working on several projects together with undergraduate and graduate students including:

  • Land management and ecology of Lyme disease: How do pathogen, vector, and host communities change in response to different land management approaches and plant community structure?
  • Grassland restoration: How does disturbance from mowing and herbicide treatments shape the distribution of plant functional traits present in communities invaded by multiple exotic species?
  • Urban creek management: How does the timing of vegetation management and restoration planting influence the trajectory of riparian plant community development?
  • CA state parks crisis: When is it more efficient to have multiple partners at local and state levels operating parks?
  • I have also done field experiments with prescribed fire in South African fynbos shrublands and northern California grasslands to help inform the management and stewardship of communities invaded by exotic plant and animal species.

Course Offerings:

  • GEP 340 - Applied Ecology
  • GEP 341 - Conservation Biology
  • GEP 445 - Restoration Ecology
  • GEP 310 - Senior Seminar in Conservation and Restoration

Selected Publications:

  • Cushman, J.H, C. J. Lortie and C. E. Christian. 2011. Native herbivores and plant facilitation mediate the performance and distribution of an invasive exotic grass. Journal of Ecology 99: 524-531.
  • Underwood, E.C. and C.E. Christian. 2009. Consequences of prescribed fire and grazing on grassland ant communities. Environmental Entomology 38: 325-332.
  • Fox, H.E., C.E. Christian, J.C. Nordby, O.R.W. Pergams, G.D. Peterson, C.R. Pyke. 2006. Perceptions of integrating social science and conservation. Conservation Biology 20: 1817-1820.
  • McKay, J., C.E. Christian, S.H. Harrison, K.J. Rice, J. Thompson. 2005. How local is local? Practical and conceptual issues in the genetics of restoration . Restoration Ecology 13:432-440.
  • Christian, C.E. and M.L. Stanton. 2004. Cryptic consequences of a seed dispersal mutualism: seed burial, elaiosome removal, and seed bank dynamics. Ecology 85:1101-1110.
  • Young, T.P., M.L. Stanton, and C.E. Christian. 2002. Effects of natural and simulated herbivory on spine lengths o f Acacia drepanolobium in Kenya . Oikos 101:171-179.
  • Christian, C.E. 2001. Consequences of biological invasion reveal importance of mutualism for plant communities. Nature 413:635-639.
  • Roy , B.A, J.W. Kirchner, C.E. Christian, and L.E. Rose. 2001. High disease incidence and apparent disease tolerance in a Great Basin plant community. Evolutionary Ecology 14:421-438.