New Leader for UC Santa Barbara Reserves

from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Managemen

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Bren professor of environmental microbiology Patricia Holden has been named director of the UCSB Natural Reserves, effective July 1. She will replace William Murdoch, professor of population ecology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB), who served as director for the past ten years.

“Dr. Holden’s research addresses a wide range of topics involving the interactions of humans, bacteria, and the environment,” said Michael Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research, in announcing her ppointment. “We are fortunate that a person of this stature and experience has agreed to take on this very important position.”

“Trish Holden brings a rare expertise in bacterial ecology to the Natural Reserve System, and that’s very exciting. I’m sure she will be quickly embraced and strongly supported by the highly collegial community of scientists who work in the system. There’s plenty to do, and we’re delighted to have her,” said Peggy Fiedler, Director of the UC Natural Reserve System.

The UCSB NRS is part of the UC Natural Reserve System. The system as a whole includes 36 sites comprising approximately 135,000 acres. All nine UC campuses, excepting UCSF, which is primarily a medical school, operate reserves in the system. UCSB manages six reserves — Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino Reserve, Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve and Valentine Camp, Coal Oil Point Reserve, Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Cruz Island Reserve, and the Carpinteria Salt Marsh.

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Each reserve was chosen to represent a particular natural environment. The director is responsible for overall management of the NRS sites and promoting research and education programs. Professor Holden will be supported by Susan Swarbrick, Associate Director of the system, and the onsite director at each site.

All the reserves host researchers from UCSB, other UC campuses, and other universities, with  projects conducted on the sites typically funded by the National Science Foundation or other agencies. The NRS provides facilities such as housing and support such as equipment protection  at these often-remote sites.

“The University of California Natural Reserve System is the largest university-run system of natural reserves in the world, and UCSB manages the most important set of reserves within that system,” Witherell said. “Trish Holden and the superb staff of the UCSB Natural Reserve System will support the superb programs of teaching, research, and public service that are carried out at all of our reserves.”