Our mission is to promote research and understanding of the biology of wild vertebrates, including native, non-native, and pest species, with the goal of improving management of these species for the people of California and elsewhere. We serve the needs of California through targeted research, extension and outreach, undergraduate teaching, and graduate mentoring in the increasingly critical fields of ecology, conservation, and wildlife and fisheries management. Our conceptual arena is the ecology and conservation of wild vertebrates, and resolution of negative interactions between people and wildlife species.
Our forte is our approach to conservation at multiple scales, from species (the level at which the federal and state Endangered Species Acts operate) to populations, communities, and ecosystems. Teaching efforts emphasize a broad-based interdisciplinary education with a core scientific foundation supplemented by courses emphasizing ecology and management of vertebrates. Students graduating from WFCB are well-versed in the biology and ecology of these species and are equipped to promote and direct enlightened management of species as well as their habitats.
Our graduate students receive advanced training in these areas, and in the skills necessary to conduct relevant conservation research and to communicate the results to stakeholders. Faculty research often focuses on threatened and endangered species, through the development of better understanding of their ecology and helping to formulate viable management plans. This focus allows us to address knowledge gaps faced by a broad range of stakeholders, from federal and state agencies to non-profit organizations and private landowners.
Consequently, we have a strong and diverse constituency that includes wildlife and fish managers from state and federal agencies (Dept. of Fish & Game, Dept. of Water Resources, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service), focal user groups (sport hunters and fishers, commercial fishers), farmers and ranchers (e.g., through management of pest species), and all who recreate, bird watch, fish, or otherwise benefit from the vertebrate fauna of California.
Our outreach and extension efforts educate stakeholders about options for responding to wildlife and fisheries issues. While such issues have historically tended to arise in rural areas, the rapid and ongoing expansion of California’s human population is leading to an acceleration of issues arising at the urban-rural interface and increased opportunities for conservation efforts in urban areas experiencing renewal and reconstruction of aging infrastructure.
Our research and teaching are distinct from that in other academic programs at UCD in our focus on the charismatic birds, mammals, and fish that capture the imagination of the public and fuel diverse economic sectors, while simultaneously challenging the public and political leaders to maintain and to manage the land and water resources that these species require. WFCB complements other programs on campus, elsewhere in UC, and in the CSU system by providing focal training on the ecology and management of these key animal groups.