Mary L. Cadenasso

Mary Cadenasso

Position Title

  • Faculty
1314 PES
UC Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D., Rutgers University; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1998
  • B.S., Santa Clara University; Biology, 1987

Research interests and expertise: 

I am a landscape and urban ecologist and my research focuses on understanding how spatial heterogeneity of an area or system controls system function and change. My research spans scales and I employ GIS, field experiments and observations, and analytical chemistry of plants, soil, and water to investigate the relationship between landscape patterns and ecosystem processes. I work in many types of systems including the savannas of California and South Africa, Sierra alpine, and the metropolitan regions of Sacramento and Baltimore.

Current projects: 

Current teaching: 

  • Urban Forestry; ENH 100 (fall quarter)
  • Urban Ecology; PLS 162 (winter quarter)
  • Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology; PLS 163 (winter quarter)

External activities that contribute to scholarship:

  • Subject Matter Editor, Ecosphere (Ecological Society of America, open access journal)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Urban Ecology
  • UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, Executive Council
  • Center for Regional Change, Executive Committee
  • Graduate Group in Ecology ñ Ecosystems and Landscapes AOE Chair and Advisor
  • Reviewer on NSF panels and numerous journals

Prizes, Awards, Honors:

  • Chancellor's Fellow, UC Davis, 2012-2017
  • National Science Foundation, Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), 2009-2014

Google Scholar



  • Ecology
  • Urban ecology
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Riparian ecology
  • Savanna ecology
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • Vegetation ecology
  • Landscape ecology
  • Ecosystem ecology
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Environmental justice