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October 14, 2020

12:00pm Zoom Webinar

David Jacobs
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

" Coevolution of Earth and Life at different scales Multicellular origins, what extinct ducks can tell us, and small lagoons on our coast "

My research and instruction focus on interaction between physical and biological process on a number of temporal and spatial scales.


I teach a class Earth Process and Evolutionary History which provides a framework for synthesis where every student does an independent interdisciplinary project.


For this promotion presentation I present 3 vignettes that include research pursued online this summer with graduate and undergraduate students during these covid times:

1) Changing global temperature and oxygenation influenced local processes supporting the origin of multicellular Eukaryotic form. This built on previously evolved redox driven epigenetic control of cell type.

2) Phylogenetic placement of two extinct ducks using ancient DNA leads to work suggesting that the flightless duck Chendytes had a trophic influence on California coastal ecology, while extinction of the the Labrador duck leads to investigation of extinction risk of modern Steller’s eider due to climate change impacts on this permafrost dependent nester.

3) The coastal lagoons of California Coast are a unique physically dynamic habitats that support endangered species and are dramatically impacted by coastal development. This summer a group of undergraduates have focused extensively on modelling physical lagoon behavior and relating those to the biology and potential restoration of local small lagoons on the coast of Santa Monica Bay.

Host: Greg Grether