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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Michelle Marvier

Michelle Marvier


BS 1990, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara
PhD 1996, University of California, Santa Cruz

Teaching and Research Vision

Skepticism, as opposed to belief, is the throbbing heart of good science.

As scientists we must follow the data where they lead, regardless of whether the answers fit with our preconceived notions. Nowhere is this more at issue than in environmental science where some answers are uncritically accepted as right and good, while other answers can land us in a lot of hot water with our peers.

The unwavering commitment to counter confirmation bias, to critically question the conventional wisdom, and to strive first and foremost for effectiveness rather than righteousness—these are the scientific habits of mind that I champion for my students.

To help foster this kind of thinking more broadly within the environmental community, I have focused my energy in recent years on two book projects.

effective conservation science book cover


Effective Conservation Science

Data Not Dogma

Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman (editors)

Oxford University Press

This edited volume assembles some of the most intriguing voices in modern conservation biology. Collectively they highlight many of the most challenging questions being asked in conservation science today.

From the preface of “Effective Conservation Science”:

“It is our love of nature and biology that draws us to this work, and that love also drives us to want to get the answers right.”

“The key is that we—meaning all conservation scientists—need to use data, not values and argumentation, to identify the best ways to secure biodiversity.”

“In short, the single most important principle should be ‘follow the data.’ This is a book that tells stories of conservation scientists following the data—to wherever it may lead.”


Conservation Science

Balancing the Needs of People and Nature

Peter Kareiva and Michelle Marvier

MacMillan Learning

Now used at over 150 colleges and universities, Conservation Science is an original and modern approach to conservation.

conversation science book cover

From the preface of “Conservation Science”:

“Because conservation is concerned with how we humans live on the planet, passions can run deep. In these pages we try to capture the excitement of conservation as it stands today—a lively field involving many unsettled debates.”



ENVS 110: Statistics for Environmental Science

ENVS 153: Conservation Science



Kareiva, P. and M. Marvier. 2015. Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature. 2nd ed. Roberts & Co.

Kareiva, P., C. Groves, and M. Marvier. 2014. The evolving linkage between conservation science and practice at The Nature Conservancy. Journal of Applied Ecology.

Marvier, M. 2014. New conservation is true conservation. Conservation Biology 28: 1-3.

Marvier, M. 2014. A call for ecumenical conservation. Animal Conservation.

Marvier, M. and H. Wong. 2012. Winning back broad public support for conservation. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 2:291-295.

Kareiva, P. and M. Marvier. 2012. What is conservation science? Bioscience 62:962-969. 

Kareiva, P., R. Lalasz, and M. Marvier. 2011. Conservation in the Anthropocene. Breakthrough Journal 2:26-36.

Marvier, M. 2011. Using meta-analysis to inform risk assessment and risk management. Journal of Consumer Protection and Food Safety 6:113-118.

Duan, J. J., J. G. Lundgren, S. Naranjo, and M. Marvier. 2009. Extrapolating non-target risk of Bt crops from laboratory to field. Biology Letters 6: 74-77.

Marvier, M., Y. Carrière, N. Ellstrand, P. Gepts, P. Kareiva, E. Rosi-Marshall, B. E. Tabashnik, L. L. Wolfenbarger. 2008. Harvesting data from genetically engineered crops. Science 320: 452-453.

Tallis, H., P. Kareiva, P., M. Marvier, and A. Chang. 2008. An ecosystem services framework to support both practical conservation and economic development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 105: 9457-9464.

Kareiva, P., A. Chang, and M. Marvier. 2008. Development and conservation goals in World Bank projects. Science 321: 1638-1639.

Curriculum vitae
Curriculum vitae