La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science



La Kretz Center scientists apply new genomic tools to the conservation of understudied organisms

Brad Shaffer and Evan McCartney-Melstad are featured in the August 2018 podcast from the journal Heredity, which broadcasts interviews with the people behind the journal, the science and a digest of breaking news. The focus of the podcast is the application of new genomic methods to understudied organisms, including a recent study published by Shaffer and...



The Case for ‘Sanctuary Cities’ for Endangered Species

"[W]hat if we deliberately offered sanctuary to endangered species in our cities—those that are native, of course, but also those that are not?" - Ursula Heise, in CityLab.



Wild parrots fill the soundscape in Los Angeles

"Parrots are not uncommon around Los Angeles. More than a dozen different species have established wild populations in the area, descendants of pet birds that escaped at some point and managed to make a home for themselves in some part of the sprawling metropolis," Ursula Heise writes in Elemental.



Endangered species and the case for ‘sanctuary cities’

Brad Shaffer, a biology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, notes that cities not only destroy habitat, but also create new living spaces for animals and plants. (Wired)



La Kretz Center postdoc research: Hybridization meets extinction at the level of the gene

The shallow depths of ponds all across Europe used to be home to amphibians of all shapes and sizes. Now, these amphibians are threatened by human activities such as agricultural expansion, and the introduction of invasive species. While invasive species can be a threat to native biota because of competition, predation and infection, closely related...



From science to action: Sustainable LA Grand Challenge researchers brief California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom on UCLA research

La Kretz Center Director Brad Shaffer and other UCLA researchers meet with California Assemblyman Richard Bloom to discuss how how conservation genomics could help California modernize its approach to natural resource management.



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

UCLA La Kretz Center’s 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...



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...