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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Michelle Marvier


Michelle Marvier


Curriculum Vitae (CV)

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 21: Environmental Biology

ENVS 110: Statistics for Environmental Science

ENVS 153: Conservation Science



Recent Publications

Marvier, M., Kareiva, K., Billington, M., Felix, D., and Ferrante, B.  In press. The benefits of nature exposure: Moving from research to implementation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Marvier, M. 2023. Learning to live with large predators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120: e2303652120.

Shaughnessy, B., Almada, A., Thompson, K., Marvier, M. and Kareiva, P.  2023. Are all benefits equal? An exploratory analysis of northeast and west coast perspectives of seafood farming expansion in the U.S.  Journal of World Aquaculture Society 54:899-914.

Mader, A. D., Waters, N. A., Kawazu, E. C., Marvier, M., Monnin, N., and Salkeld, D. J. 2022. Messaging should reflect the nuanced relationship between land change and zoonotic disease riskBioScience 72: 1099-1104.

Kareiva, P., Attwood, S. K., Bean, K., Felix, D., Marvier, M., Miketa, M. L., and Tate‐Pulliam, E. 2022. A new era of wolf management demands better data and a more inclusive process. Conservation Science and Practice 4: e12821.

Kareiva, P., Estes, J. A., and Marvier, M. 2021. Restore protected status for gray wolves. Science 373: 632.

Hirashiki, C., Kareiva, P., and Marvier, M. 2021. Concern over hybridization risks should not preclude conservation interventions. Conservation Science and Practice 3:e424.

Marvier, M. and Kareiva, P. 2020. It is time to rebalance the risk equation. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 18: 423.

In the News

April 21, 2023

Michelle Marvier commented, on "Inside the Controversial Strategy To Make the World More Wild,"  in Inverse.