For Prospective Students


My philosophy in training students is to let students pursue the projects that interest them. Therefore, as one can see from the People and Alumni part of the website, there are a large variety of projects that students have undertaken over the years.  One can also note, however, that there are recurring themes in these projects that center largely on community ecology and on species evolution in a community context. The lab meets together in lab meetings, informal potlucks and other activities, and we exchange ideas and mentor each other through these activities.

Currently, I am not taking new students in the  Strauss lab, but I am happy to participate in mentoring students. Faculty with whom I am collaborating or share interests and who are taking students are: Jenny Gremer, Santiago Ramirez,

How to Apply

When one applies to UC Davis graduate school, the structure of the graduate training programs can be overwhelming and confusing. Here is a brief explanation.  Unlike at many other schools, UC Davis has many graduate groups that span departments. Two appropriate cross-departmental graduate groups are Ecology and Population Biology.  These are separate entities from the department to which I belong – Evolution and Ecology, despite the similarity in names. The Pop Bio and Ecology graduate groups differ primarily in their core courses in the first year. Pop Bio covers ecology, but also evolution, speciation and phylogenetics. The Pop Bio core is more quantitatively oriented than the Ecology core, and requires an additional quarter. Communicate with your prospective advisor about which program might be best for you—this decision will depend primarily on your interests. For some students, it might make sense to apply to both programs, but usually, one or the other is a better fit.

Regardless of which program a student belongs to, the advisor’s lab community is the primary community,  especially after the first year.  There are also additional avenues for community stemming from the grad group to which students belong, and of course, from other campus organizations and outside activities.

Grad groups invite (pay for transportation and put up students at other students’ houses) prospective students who have been selected as acceptable to visit Davis, and to check out the program and the labs. So, this visit is of minimal expense to prospective students, but is essential in letting the students check out the program and the lab, and vice versa. It is important that students visit us prior to admission, even if it is not possible to visit during the official grad student weekends sponsored by Pop Bio and Ecology.