Principal Investigator:

Valerie Eviner
(530) 752-8538
Link to CV

Valerie Eviner


I received my B.A. from Rutgers University and PhD from University of California Berkeley (working with Terry Chapin and Mary Firestone). My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of plant-soil interactions and applying this understanding to ecosystem management, restoration, invasions, ecosystem processes, and rangelands in a changing environment. I am particularly interested in understanding the controls over plant community interactions and multiple ecosystem services, and how these patterns and controls vary across the landscape, over time, and due to environmental changes. Most of my work occurs in California grasslands on working landscapes. Other study systems include: wetlands, degraded grasslands in Inner Mongolia, Northeastern forests (particularly understory dynamics), alpine meadows and forests, and cropping systems in California, Illinois, and New York.


Graduate Students:

Evan Batzer


Before coming to Davis, I received my B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan, where I studied vegetative growth in clonal plants and the effects of plant invasion on wetland plant communities in the Great Lakes. My current research focuses on the role that nutrient limitation and climatic variability play in driving plant responses to changing environmental conditions, particularly across long time scales. Other research interests include recruitment limitation in native California bunchgrasses and the use of long-term datasets to explore the impacts of exotic plant invasion on the California coast.

Sarah Gaffney

Sarah Gaffney


I received my B.A. in Biology from Smith College, where I studied reproductive effort in mammals. After graduation I worked as field technician for various vegetation and wildlife surveys and was an SCA intern focused on native plant restoration at a national monument. My current research focuses on native plant suppression of invasive weeds in California grasslands. I am interested in restoration and understanding the role of plant-soil interactions in restoration success.

Julia Michaels

Julia Michaels


Before joining the Eviner lab I received a BA in Biology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and worked in environmental education in New Orleans, LA. My undergraduate research focused on wetland restoration and mitigation policy. I am interested in ecological invasions in vernal pool systems, and how scientists can work with ranchers to identify practices that reduce invasives, protect rare and endangered species, and encourage ecosystem services.

Benjamin Waitman

Ben Waitman

I received a BS in biology from the College of William and Mary and an MS in biology from the University of Nevada before coming to Davis. My MS work focused on seed dispersal and scatter hoarding behavior in rodents. I am currently expanding my research in mutualisms. When are mutualisms (both positive and negative) context-dependent and what does this mean for conservation managers in a changing climate? I ask these questions using Ponderosa pine and their associated mycorrhizal fungi as a model system. I am making use of a well-established gradient in anthropogenic N deposition in Southern California to determine changes to the community composition and function of the ectomycorrhizae associated with ponderosa pine. 



Lab Manager:

David Mitchell

I studied Biology at St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a focus on ecology and received an M.Sc. from Iowa State University in Ecology and Soil Science. My research in Iowa focused on soil nitrogen and carbon cycling, particularly how cropland management and soil organic matter influence nitrate leaching and denitrification. Before joining the Eviner lab, I worked in a seed treatment research lab at Monsanto and interned at the Mid-Continent office of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, working on soil management issues in reclaimed minelands.






Emily Howard
Audrey McLane
Noelle Pipa
Hunter Stapp
Cricket Swanson

Lab Alumni:

Maya Argaman
Ian Baker
Jill Baty- now working with the Illinois Natural History Survey
Karina Beltran
Catherine Bronge
Leslie Canones
Alexa Carleton- now working with the Coos Bay Watershed Association
Melissa Cayne
Chris Chen- now a graduate student at UCD
Kiely Doherty- now a graduate student at University of Bayreuth
Celia Duffy
Tracy Erwin
Rika Fields
Alexis Fuller
Kelly Garbach- now an assistant professor at Loyola University
Elizabeth Goebel- MS, now at Hedgerow Farms
Roman Gutierrez
Megan Haug
Lillian Hayden
Joanne Heraty- now at Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Sarah Hoskinson- now a reserve manager and scientist at Mianus River Gorge, NY
Simon Huet
Tyler Jackson
Ben Janes
Adrien Johns
Addy Johnson
Robert Keatinge
Anna Kehl
Tree Kilpatrick
Whitney Krupp
Austin Lo
Sharon Luong
Tommy McCormack
Audrey McLane
Annie Montes
Mark Noyes
Nick Quaglia
Arielle Patton
Noel Pipa
Rebecca Polich
Elias Potashov
Robert Schupp
Rebecca Serata
Troy Shea
Hunter Stapp
Barbara Swedo
Jack Taylor
Naomi Tomco
Alec Villanueva
Fenmeng Zhu

Collaborators and Cooperators:

Mary Cadenasso, UC Davis
California Climate and Agriculture Network
California Invasive Plant Council
Chelsea Carey, UC Riverside
Christine Hawkes, U. Texas Austin
Katherine Holmes, Solano County RCD
Hopland Research & Extension Center
Carolyn Malmstrom, Michigan State
Mary Maret, Sacramento County Parks
Putah Creek Reserve (Andrew Fulks, JP Marie)
Kevin Rice, U. California Davis
Sierra Foothills Research & Extension Center