La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science

Lecture Series

Fossils as a Tool for Marine Restoration: Old Shells Provide New Insights For Santa Monica Bay

UCLA La Kretz Center 9th Annual Lecture


One of the great challenges in conservation biology is discovering ‘what was natural’ before human impacts. This problem is especially pressing in marine systems where biological monitoring and other records are brief or lacking. Dr. Susan Kidwell has been tackling this problem in our Southern California marine ecosystems by treating the shells acquired during marine...



Award winning La Kretz postdocs

At the 2017 annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, La Kretz Postdoc Alex Pivovaroff was the co-recipient of the Plant, Cell & Environment Award for the best oral presentation by a postdocotoral scholar in the Plant Physiological Ecology Section. The title of her talk was “In the heat of the moment: Diurnal patterns...



Ten UCLA student conservation projects funded through the La Kretz Center/Stunt Ranch Reserve Small Grant Program

The UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science and the UC Natural Reserve System Stunt Ranch Santa Monica Mountains Reserve are pleased to announce this year’s grant recipients for our competitive research awards. Our ten awardees, working on projects ranging from urban lizards to invasive algae to endangered tricolored blackbirds, each contribute to our...



Clothing Color May Affect Local Animal Behavior

It has long been established that even the most innocuous of human activities can impact animal behavior. From birds mimicking phone ringtones to grins triggering aggressive responses from primates, people often have a greater impact on animal behavior than they realize. Now, a recently published UCLA study on local western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) has...


A tale of two cities in a hotter world: Los Angeles and Beijing

Brad Shaffer, La Kretz Center Director, discusses how climate change will affect biodiversity in two of the greatest cities in the world, Los Angeles and Beijing.



The search for the Southern rubber boa

High in the San Jacinto Mountains about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, a secret slithers. Uncovering it takes watchful eyes, long nights and perseverance. But for UCLA’s Jesse Grismer, the opportunity to track down a rare Southern rubber boa has been worth the wait. His search for the elusive creature wasn’t just a scavenger hunt...



La Kretz Center breaks ground for new building at Field Station

Say goodbye to our old (and definitely on its last legs) garage. On September 29, the La Kretz Center broke ground for a new accessory structure at its Field Station in the Santa Monica Mountains. The new building will provide us with 1300 square feet of dedicated research space, overnight accommodations for field researchers, and...



Experts discuss 100 years of change, look toward future of National Parks

Malibuites were treated to an engaging presentation April 23 during Pepperdine: Our National Parks at 100: Confronting Change and Committing to Science, presented by UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science in collaboration with Pepperdine University.



Study by La Kretz postdoc finds that anthropogenic nitrogen deposition may contribute to nonnative plant invasion

A paper published by La Kretz postdoc Justin Valliere after a 5-year study found that nitrogen deposition may increase native shrub loss and subsequent plant invasion during extreme droughts in the Santa Monica Mountains.  



Nature springs to life after wet winter

After five years of excruciating drought, California’s wildlife finally has a reason to celebrate. The surge in moisture has stirred UCLA conservation biologists who monitor wildlife in the mountains around Los Angeles, the White Mountains and the Sierra Nevada further north.



Smithsonian magazine: Surprising reason the turtle learned to hide its head

“Given that there are only two neck vertebrae, they’re doing an awful lot of reconstructing,” said Brad Shaffer, an evolutionary biologist at UCLA not involved in the new study. However, he adds that the theory will hopefully spark more discussion in the field of turtle research.



Study designed in La Kretz Center workshop included in Conservation Biology’s top papers list

UCLA research on the role of behavioral ecology in improving wildlife conservation and management was cited as one of the most popular papers in a top science journal. “A systematic survey of the integration of animal behavior into conservation,” co-authored by Dan Blumstein, a member of the IoES, was named one of the top five most accessed papers...



New book co-authored by Brad Shaffer covers conservation risks faced by sensitive California species

One of the most important hotspots of biodiversity in the United States, California is home to many native amphibians and reptiles found nowhere else on earth.  Climate change impacts, human development, and extreme drought mean these unique species face an ever-greater risk of extinction. Published in association with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Amphibian and...