Forest Header

Forest & Conservation Lab

Welcome to the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center’s Forest and Conservation Biology Lab. The lab is actively involved in the development of conservation and restoration strategies for native plant species that are guided by a better understanding of how native plants evolve in response to selective pressures such as drought, pest outbreaks, invasive species, fire, and other disturbances. These strategies hold the potential to amplify population and ecosystem resiliency. We are also actively working on advancing equity and diversity in forestry, conservation, and restoration initiatives.

Related Research Projects

Climate Resilient Restoration
Forest Health
Population Dynamics
Ecological Genetics & Evolutionary Potential
Conservation & Restoration
Raising Baby Trees
News & Media

Current Members

Patricia MaloneyPATRICIA MALONEY is the lead scientist in the UCD Tahoe Environmental Research Center Forest and Conservation Biology Lab. Currently, she is the Associate Director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center & Associate Project Scientist in the UCD Department of Plant Pathology. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis in 2000. The labs research program broadly studies forest health, population dynamics of forest tree species, eco-evolutionary dynamics, ecophysiology, restoration, conservation biology, host-pathogen and host-insect interactions.

Tom BurtTOM BURT started working with lead scientist Maloney in 1995 and has always been the “FAE” or “Field Assistant Extraordinaire." Via osmosis he has become a forest & conservation biologist and has been the primary contract cone collector for gene conservation efforts of high-elevation white pines in California and Nevada. When not being Big Daddy (to our daughters Nina and Hannah) or FAE, Tom is out riding on whatever medium of water that is beckoning to him (i.e. snow, freshwater, saltwater, or ice) or in the mountains enjoying his family and friends (and making pies). Tom graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1986 with a double major in Math & Education and a minor in Physics and is 4th generation Lake Tahoe.

Camille JensenCAMILLE JENSEN started working in the Forest and Conservation Biology Lab in 2004 and is Dr. Maloney’s “Right-Hand Woman.”  Camille graduated with a B.S. in Forest Management from the University of Minnesota in 2001 and in 2005 completed her M.S. in Plant Pathology from UC Davis. Camille has extensive experience as a forest health specialist and forest biologist working in montane ecosystems of California and has experience working in urban forestry in NYC. She is the lab’s resident entomologist and fellow “phenomics” associate in the lab’s ecological genetic studies of five-needled white pines.  Camille enjoys living, playing, and working in the mountains and is a wonderful Mother to her 2 sons Pax and Nico.

Aaron VanderPoolAARON VANDERPOOL ( joined the lab in 2017 assisting in studies on forest health, forest restoration, ecophysiology, ecological genetics, and dendrochronology.  More recently Aaron has been working with the TERC aquatics team on data collection, surveys, lab analyses, and managing extensive databases.  Aaron received his B.S. in Environmental Science & Ecology with a minor in Sustainability from Sierra Nevada College. Aaron has extraordinary life experience and is the lab’s computational wizard.  

Shannon Lynch

SHANNON LYNCH is an affiliate of the Forest and Conservation Biology Lab and has collaborated with Patricia Maloney and Camille Jensen over the last 20 years working on high-elevation white pine species, Sudden Oak Death, and host-pathogen and host insect interactions. Shannon is currently a Post-Doc in the Lab of Dr. Akif Eskalen in UC Davis’ Department of Plant Pathology and works extensively in southern California studying the invasive shot hole borer and developing a statewide strategic initiative to control and manage this emergent disease. Shannon received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in 2001, majoring in Integrative Biology.  She received her Ph.D. in 2020 from UC Santa Cruz where she studied Environmental Studies with a designated emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 

Former Members & Interns

Elisa Marini

ELISA MARINI worked in the lab from 2015-2017 monitoring bark beetle populations, conducting dendrochronology studies, and forest carbon dynamics. Elisa received her B.S. in Forest and Environmental Technologies from the University of Padua, Italy in 2011 and her M.S. in Forest and Environmental Sciences from the University of Padua in 2014. Elisa is currently an award-winning cheesemaker back in Italy, here is her shops website:  They do not ship to the US but hopefully I can travel to Italy soon to taste her wonderfully crafted cheeses. 

Martin FryMARTIN FRY worked in the lab from 2011-2015 and assisted in common garden studies, restoration plantings and monitoring, as well as vertebrate studies in white pine blister rust-impacted whitebark pine stands. Martin also assisted Tom Burt in gene conservation collections of five-needled white pines. Martin graduated from Lewis & Clark University in 2010 with a double major in Environmental & Hispanic Studies and a minor in Latin American Studies. Currently he is the field crew leader at Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project, an organization working to locate, protect, and enhance seabird habitat in Maui Nui.

UNDERGRADUATE INTERNS: James Pollock (2011-2012), Richa Nanavati (2015), Hannah Perkins (2016), Traci Bond (2016), Aaron Vanderpool (2016-2017), Bryn Anderson (2017), Jennay Argiris (2017), Serena Galindo (2017), Ayden Williamson (2017), Elana Ketchian (2018), Steven Shuster (2018), Megan Birnbaum (2019), Cora Lochner (2019), Angelina Ghilotti (2019-2020), Cora Lochner (2021).


Jean Zambik

For decades, JEAN ZAMBIK contributed to the Lake Tahoe community working at the Tahoe Biltmore, Crystal Bay Club and Hyatt casinos. When not working, she enjoyed hiking, swimming, stargazing and relishing the beauty of nature. When recreating she was always litter picking, paying careful attention not to step on any plants and even lifting wind-fallen branches from shrubs and forbs so they may thrive. Her continued environmental stewardship brought her to becoming a volunteer extraordinaire for the Forest and Conservation Lab. Wise, curious, caring, along with a quick wit followed with her inviting laugh, are just a few of her most endearing qualities that made her a friend to many. 

Lab Motto

“The mountains are my playground……..and my office”