David Ackerly is the Dean of the College of Natural Resources and a professor in integrative biology, and has been on the faculty at UC Berkeley since 2005. He started his career as a volunteer on the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project in the Central Amazon, and then did his PhD research on the ecophysiology of tropical pioneer trees, working in Mexico. As a postdoc, he combined molecular phylogenetics with comparative studies of canopy architecture in maples (Acer), working in Japan and the northeastern US. As a faculty member, David's lab has tackled a variety of topics in plant ecology and evolution, including trait-based studies of plant strategies, integration of phylogenetics and community ecology, and comparative studies of trait evolution. In the last few years he has shifted his focus to the study of climate change impacts on biodiversity, focusing on the native flora of California, and implications for future challenges in conservation and land management. David co-directs the Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaborative (tbc3.org), a partnership with the Dwight Center for Conservation Science at Pepperwood Preserve, focused on climate change and resource management in the San Francisco Bay Area.
David is the PI and Director of an NSF NRT program: Environment and Society: Data Sciences for the 21st Century (DS421, 2015-2020). The program brings together Master’s and PhD students from a range of departments on the UC Berkeley campus to address interdisciplinary challenges related to global change. He also helps lead the Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology, which promotes integrative work addressing biotic impacts of global change.