We are fortunate to work with exceptional scientists from the University of California, Riverside.Jenerette_headshot2

G. Darrel Jenerette, PhD, Lead Researcher  

Dr. Jenerette leads the research team on the Earthwatch Urban Resiliency Program. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at University of California, Riverside. He received his B.S. in Biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Department of Plant Biology at Arizona State University. He was also a Postdoctoral Researcher, studying Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at School of Natural Resources at The Ohio State University and a Postdoctoral Fellow with Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Arizona.

Read about Dr. Jenerette’s lab at UC Riverside

See recent publications on this project


Peter Ibsen, PhD StudentIbsen

A graduate student in Dr. Jenerette’s lab, Peter comes from a background in urban horticulture. He has a BA in sociology at University of San Francisco, and studied plant science through a sustainable ecology and environmental monitoring program at City College of San Francisco. Through that program, he completed research internships with the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park and with the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring department. He also worked at University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, examining heat tolerance in poplar trees. He is now earning his PhD in Botany and Plant Science at University of California, Riverside with a focus on functional urban ecology with the Los Angeles Megacity as a novel research field site while incorporating the work of citizen science.


Julie Ripplinger, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher 

Julie is currently a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Darrel Jenerette in the Department Ripplinger_photoof Botany and Plant Sciences, where her research involves understanding the complex drivers of urban tree biodiversity and distributions. The two branches of this work involve (1) a cross-city study over a range of biophysical, socioeconomic, and historical states, and (2) an in-depth study of tree diversity and drivers over a climatic gradient in the greater LA megapolitan area. Julie is interested in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of landscape, plant community, long-term, and social-ecological systems ecology. Julie’s current research involves understanding the complex drivers of urban plant community diversity and distributions. It encompasses several cities that represent a range of biophysical, socioeconomic, and historical states.


Mia Rochford, Undergraduate Student

Mia Rochford is an undergraduate student studying plant biology at the University IMG_4574of California, Riverside. Her love of learning about plants stemmed from an early interest in biology and a later realization that dissecting plants was much more fun that dissecting animals. Her degree will have an emphasis on evolution, ecology, and systematics with a personal interest in urban ecology.  Mia was part of the team in Darrel Jenerette’s lab that helped analyze the leaves collected by Earthwatch volunteers for the LA urban resiliency project.

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