D'Antonio, Carla

Schuyler Professor


Bren 4002

Dr. Carla D'Antonio's teaching and research is in the area of terrestrial ecology and the application of ecological knowledge to environmental problem solving related to the management of natural landscapes. 

Teaching: Carla D'Antonio's teaching is in the area of ecology and the application of ecological knowledge to land management and ecological restoration. She is particularly passionate about teaching courses that get students out into the field to evaluate real-world ecosystem or species management problems and to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to solving conservation challenges. Her field course ES/EEMB 119, involves field trips each week to visit a variety of ecosystem and measure things about those systems. Other teaching includes Foundations of Ecosystem Restoration which involves a weekly field lab to visit restoration sites and assess their successes, and Fire Ecology which tackles time relevant challenges related to wildland fire.

Campus activities: D'Antonio is on the oversight committee of the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) and on the Science Advisory Committee for the North Campus Open Space restoration project. She is also on the UCSB Natural Reserve Systems oversight committee, and serves as the Faculty Representative for the Rancho Marino Reserve. She is active on many ES committees and has served as chair of the program. 

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. Carla D'Antonio's research focus has been to understand processes that control invasions by non-indigenous species into ecological communities and how and when the addition of some individual species affects ecosystem structure and functioning. Additionally research in her laboratory has focused on understanding both controls over vegetation change and plant dominance from local to landscape levels including within ecosystems undergoing degradation due to human activities. She seeks a mechanistic understanding of ecological patterns and process and although she works primarily at the community and ecosystem levels, she also examines individual plant and population processes.. She also tries to link research questions and findings to the restoration or of community and ecosystem processes in degraded ecosystems. Her students work in chaparral, grassland and vernal pool ecosystems and she continues to work with students and collaborators in Hawaii on factors inhibiting forest recovery after the cessation of livestock grazing. Her work and that of her students integrates with land managers at the UC NRS sites, managed wildlands in Hawaii, and with the USFS in California. Some specific projects near Santa Barbara include collaborative work on plant community responses to wildfire and invasive grasses in California chaparral, factors impeding natural recovery of chaparral after degradation due to too much fire, and factors influencing recovery of the endemic conifer Pseudotsuga macrocarpa after fire and drought.


Plant ecology, restoration ecology, fire, ecosystems and people