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Truman P. Young - Professor and Restoration Ecologist



Truman P. YoungTruman P. Young

Department of Plant Sciences

University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

Room 2234, PES Building

Tel. (530) 754-9925
Fax (530) 752-1819


Truman Young at: Researchgate     Google Scholar

Recent lab news:

April 2016   Lab alumna Lauren Porensky pays a visit and gives a departmental seminar on longterm rangeland experiments, threshholds, reversibility, and hysteresis.

April 2016   Lab paper on the restoration implications of priority (wrapped around a summary of PRYER Results) is accepted in Restoration Ecology.

April 2016   Kelly Gravuer is awarded a NaureNet Science Fellowship to work with The Nature Conservancy and Arizona State University.

April 2016   Jennifer Balachowski's paper on the physiological correlates of summer dormancy in grasses is accepted in Annals of Botany.

March 2016   Chhaya Werner is awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Way to go, Chhaya!

March 2016   Jennifer Balachowski is awarded a Climate Hubs post-doctoral fellowship.

March 2016   Emily Zefferman accepts a Conservation Ecologist position with the Monterey Resource Conservation District (RCD). Congratulations, Emily!

March 2016   Steve Fick accepts a Research Associate position with the Stockholm Environmental Institute, Sweden. Congratulations, Steve!

March 2016   Derek Young returns from a three-month field season in Brazi and Peru (as part of his IGERT Fellowship).

March 2016   Truman co-leads an 18-day graduate field course down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and survives.

February 2016   Kristina Wolf's review of blue gum, an invasive eucalyptus, is published in California Agriculture.

February 2016   "Leveraging nature’s backup plans" appears online in Restoration Ecology.

January 2016    Mila Dunbar-Irwin''s paper comparing yellow pine forests in (burned) Baja and (fire-suppressed) California comes out in Forest Ecology and Management.

January 2016    Steve Fick's paper on restoration on the Colorado Plateau is accepted for publication in Ecosphere.

January 2016   Chhaya Werner's first-authored paper on the long-term effcts of priority planting in restoration is accepted for publication in Ecological Applications.

January 2016   "Are cattle surrogate wildlife?", summarizing 15 years of KLEE vegetation data, is accepted for publication in Ecological Applications (same day as above!).

January 2016    Lauren Porensky's paper on edge effects and patch orientation comes out online in Landscape Ecology.

December 2015   Katie Stuble wraps up her post-doc in the Young labs to start an ISEECI post-doc, which will be followed by a full-time position with the Holden Arboretum in Ohio.

December 2015   Jen Balachowski earns her Ph.D. in Ecology. Congratulations, Jen!

November 2015   Dr. Amelia (Amy) Wolf joins the lab as a visiting post-doc.

November 2015   Kristina Wolf's paper exploring the use of flushing annuals as a restoration technique is accepted for publication in Ecosphere.

October 2015   Laura Morales and Grace Charles are back in town after extended field seasons in Peru and Kenya.

September 2015   Grace Charles' junior-authored paper on the implications of behavioural plasticity comes out online in Behavioural Ecology.

August 2015   First paper on the synergistic effects of fire and herbivory appears in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

July 2015   Grace Charles co-authors a paper in Ecology on plants using stickiness to trap insects that attract predators that then protect the plant!

June 2015    A lab-written paper on the low invasion of harsh sites (senior-authored by Emily Zefferman) appears in AoB PLANTS.

June 2015   Emily Zefferman is awarded a Shapiro Award for the best dissertation in Ecology in CAES. Congratulations, Emily!

June 2015   Lab paper on fire revealing cryptic plant diversity, first-authored by Derek Young, is published in Ecosphere.

May 2015    Kelly Gravuer is awarded an ELIPPS fellowship (Emerging Leaders In Policy And Public Service) and an ARCS Fellowship. Egad, Kelly!

April 2015    The Ecological Society of America announces their 2015-19 cohort of (nine) Early Career Fellows. One is lab alumna Corinna Riginos. Congratulations, Corinna! Three others are past or current KLEE researchers at Mpala (Hillary Young, Rob Pringle, and Brian Allan).

April 2015     Derek Young is awarded a $20,000 GRIN grant.

March 2015    Marit Wilkerson's single-authored paper on hedgerows appears in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.

March 2015   Kurt Vaughn's paper on the demographic underpinnings of priority appears in Ecological Applications.

February 2015    Emily Peffer Zefferman's single-authored paper appears in PLoS ONE.

February 2015     Kristina Wolf wins Best Doctoral Student Talk at the annual meeting of the Society for Rangement.

February 2015    The KLEE project awarded an NSF REU grant, senior-authored by Grace Charles.

January 2015    The first PRYER paper appears in AoB PLANTS, as an Editor's Choice.

January 2015    Jen Balachowski returns from her Fulbright Fellowship in Montpellier, France.

December 2014   Emily Peffer Zefferman and Kevin Welch earn their Ph.D.s in Ecology. Congratulations, Emily and Kevin! 

October 2014    Wilkerson et al. paper on the (cost-)effectiveness of hedgerow restoration plantings to attract pollinators is published in Restoration Ecology.


OK, Back to Truman's stuff:

Truman Young CV

Professional History:

2003-present  Professor and Restoration Ecologist, University of California, Davis
1996-2003      Lecturer, Assistant and Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
1992-96         Associate Professor, Fordham University
1981-91         Post-doc, Lecturer, Consultant, Scientific Director, peripatetic tropical ecologist
1976-81         University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D.)
1972-75         University of Chicago (B.A.)

Research Interests:

I have broad interests in plant population and community ecology, including 38 years of research in Africa.  For the last 25 years, I have been involved with more applied research at the community and landscape scales in California and Kenya.  My current research projects are related to the ecology, management, restoration, and conservation of human-dominated landscapes.

My current research focuses on the following projects:

  1. Contingency in restoration ecology: priority effects, year effects, and site effects (PRYER)
  2. Wildlife, livestock and biodiversity in an African savanna (KLEE)


Secondary (and past) research includes:

  1. Planting issues in ecological restoration
  2. The maintenance of biodiversity in a model system (ACACIA)
  3. The evolution of semelparity


My early research (1970s and '80s) concentrated on basic and theoretical questions in population ecology, and the ecology of Mount Kenya

I also have collaborated with Lynne Isbell in her studies of primate behavioral ecology.  I provide a life history and plant ecological perspective to her explorations of how food and predation influence the evolution of mammalian behavior. (Behavioral ecology publications).

I am a member of the Graduate Group in Ecology and the Center for Population Biology. See this link for more details on graduate student research


Klee monochromatic

Satellite view of the KLEE exclosure plots in Laikipia, Kenya, where we have been excluding various combinations of cattle, wildlife, and mega-herbivores (elephants and giraffes) from a savanna grassland since 1995.  Each of the 18 plots is 200m x 200m.  This is an NDVI layer of an image taken 20 June 2003 (Quickbird, via Digital Globe). Lighter areas are indicative of higher productivity.  The larger white areas are anthropogenic glades, and the smaller white areas are low termite "mounds".  Both are hot spots of soil fertility, plant productivity, and animal use.

Click on the image to enlarge and display in false color, where the high-productvity areas appear red.