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Truman P. Young - Professor and Restoration Ecologist

Truman P. Young

Truman 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 2017: Wilfred Odadi's paper on post-fire competition between wildlfie and cattle is chosen as an Editor's Pick in the Journal of Ecology. Well done, Wilfred!

April 2017: Truman returns from Africa, but is based in Colorado for the next few months (more sabbatical).

March 2017: Laura Morales is awarded her doctoratel in Ecology. Congratulations, Laura!

March 2017: Kristina Wolf shepherds a lab review on the role on restoration in responding to climate change, to be published in Grasslands.

January to present 2017: There is an invasion of hundreds of armed herders and over 100,000 cattle into Laikipia, Kenya.

February 2017: Lab get two papers accepted in Ecology, one on fireand ants in KLEE (Kenya) and one on priority effects, years effects, and site effects in PRYER (California)

January 2017: Truman begins the African segment of his sabbatical.

December 2016: Starry Sprenkle's paper on agroforestry/restoration in Haiti is published in Ecological Restoration, and gets the cover photo!

December 2016: The lab (along with collaborators Kari Veblen, Duncan Kimuyu, and Wilfred Odadi) is awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society for fire in KLEE, and a supplemental grant from NSF for the contingency research in California.

December 2016: Duncan Kimuyu is awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi. Congratulations, Duncan!

November 2016: Duncan Kimuyu's paper the effects of cattle, rainfall and elephant on wildlife habitat use is accepted in Ecological Applications.

November 2016: Katie Stuble's paper on year and sites effects in California restoration is accepted in Journal of Ecology.

November 2016    Lauren Porensky's paper on edge effects and patch orientation appears in Landscape Ecology.

October 2016: Chhaya Werner passes her orals with flying colors!

October 2016: Laura Morales is co-author on a Polylepis genetics paper published in Austral Ecology.

Last six months: the extended lab celebrates two engagements, two marriages, two babies, and two more on the way!

September 2016: Truman begins his first sabbatical ever, starting in Colorado.

September 2016   Chhaya Werner's first-authored paper on the long-term effects of priority planting in restoration is published in Ecological Applications.

September 2016   "Are cattle surrogate wildlife?", summarizing 15 years of KLEE vegetation data, is published in Ecological Applications, and gets the cover photo!

August 2016: Kelly Gravuer is awarded her Ph.D. degree. Congratulations, Kelly!

August 2016   Wilfred Odadi's paper on how fire effects the interactions between cattle and wildlife is accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

August 2016   Lab paper on the restoration implications of priority (wrapped around a summary of PRYER results) is published online in Restoration Ecology.

August 2016   Kristina Wolf's paper the relationship between livestock production and recreational use of public lands is accepted for publication in Rangeland Ecology and Management.

August 2016   Paper on the effects of wildlfe and cattle on savanna primary productivity, senior-authored by Grace Charles and Lauren Porensky, is accepted for publication in Ecological Applications.

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

July 2016    Steve Fick's paper on restoration on the Colorado Plateau is published in Ecosphere.

July 2016   Jen Balachowski and Kristina Wolf are awarded Shapiro Family Awards for the best doctoral dissertations at UC Davis in Plant Sciences and Agro-ecology, respectively. Well done, Kristina and Jen!

June 2016   Kristina Wolf takes a position as Academic Coordinator for UC Davis's Agricultural Sustainability Institute.

May 2016   Steve Fick and Kristina Wolf earn their Ph.D.'s in Ecology. Congratulations, Kristina and Steve!

April 2016   Lab alumna Lauren Porensky pays a visit to UC Davis to gives an invited seminar on longterm rangeland experiments, threshholds, reversibility, and hysteresis.

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

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 Monterrey 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 Brazil 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 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.

December 2015   Katie Stuble wraps up her post-doc in the Young lab 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 at UC Davis. 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.


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 40 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.