zac macdonald: ecological and evolutionary mechanisms structuring diversity in space and time

Zachary MacDonald, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

UCLA La Kretz Center for Conservation Science

Zachary MacDonald is broadly interested in ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that structure biodiversity in space and time. Throughout his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta, much of Zac’s work focused on conservation applications of theoretical ecology, evaluating relationships between habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and emergent patterns of species diversity and genetic diversity. Since then, as a La Kretz Center Postdoctoral Fellow in the Shaffer Lab, Zac has focused on evaluating effects of habitat and climate changes on a reduced number of species, but in greater detail. This involves equal parts of: (1) forward-in-time landscape and environmental modelling, to map habitat suitability and connectivity, and predict how they will change under different climate change scenarios; and (2) population genomics, to quantify population structure, genetic diversity, and inbreeding depression within species. This has proven valuable for conserving many endangered and at-risk butterfly species throughout western North America, often working closely with regulatory agencies to develop adaptive management strategies that translate science into policy.



The 2023 UCLA La Kretz Center Public Lecture

It was an honor to have guest lecturer Dr. Jennifer Norris at the 2023 UCLA La Kretz Center Public Lecture to speak about her work leading California’s 30×30 Initiative and…

Recent Publications