The California Biodiversity Center (CBC) fosters collaborations between the Berkeley Natural History Museums, Berkeley's Natural History Field Stations, and other partners studying changes in California's biological diversity, past, present, and future.

Biological populations in California and elsewhere can change unexpectedly, with dramatic ecological and economic consequences. We see an exotic weed, present at low densities for decades following its introduction, suddenly explode as a noxious pest (e.g., yellow star thistle); sudden oak death and other pathogens threaten tanoaks, coast live oaks, madrones, redwoods, and Monterey pines; a native frog population (e.g. mountain yellow legged frog) thriving in one watershed but dwindling or disappearing in another, apparently similar habitat.

In all of these cases, ecological change, evolutionary (genetic) change, or both could account for the change in the species' performance and impact. Interactions of genetic and ecological change probably drive many changes in biodiversity and environments, yet such interactions go widely unrecognized because of lack of collaboration between scientists familiar with museum-based, historical approaches and field ecologists and earth scientists using field observations and experiments to investigate contemporary processes. The CBC fosters such collaboration.

Photo credits: Star Thistle (L) Copyright © 2002 Molly Elizabeth Bagley, Star Thistle (R) Copyright © 2001 Tony Morosco, Oak (L) by Beatrice F. Howitt © California Academy of Sciences,Oak (R) Copyright © P. Svihra, Mountain Yellow Legged Frog (L) Copyright © 1999 Vance Vredenburg, Mountain Yellow Legged Frog (R) Copyright © 1999 Vance Vredenburg




Hastings Natural History Reservation Sagehen Creek Field Station Chickering American River Reserve Hans Jenny Pygmy Forest Reserve Angelo Coast Range Reserve UC Botanical Garden Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology University and Jepson Herbaria Essig Museum of Entomology