We are building a lab of scholars to understand and predict how global environmental changes alter ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as their consequences for human well-being. Our lab crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries, but we place a particular emphasis on the use of quantitative and modeling approaches to tackle global change questions. If you like to get lost in big data, are eager to learn cutting-edge statistics and computer science, and feel passionate about pursuing environmental research with societal impacts, you may fit right in our lab.

The Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz addresses complex, contemporary environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. UC Santa Cruz ranks among the top universities in terms of research influence and research quality worldwide, and it is within a half-hour drive to the Silicon Valley. Located on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Santa Cruz has numerous year-round opportunities for outdoor recreation (sailing, surfing, mountain biking, hiking, etc.).


We always welcome exceptional scholars to join our lab as postdocs. Potential postdocs are encouraged to contact Dr. Zhu to discuss research projects and funding opportunities, including the Department of Agriculture, Ford Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, Nature Conservancy, Society for Conservation Biology, University of California, and others.

Currently, we have a postdoc opening in climate change and plant phenology. Please contact Dr. Zhu for more information.

Grad students

For Fall 2022, Dr. Zhu is accepting PhD students through the Environmental Studies Doctoral Program. Successful applicants often have previous relevant research experience and math/statistics and programming skills. Eligible candidates should contact Dr. Zhu before the application deadline in December 2021 with the following information: (1) research experience, ideas, and questions; (2) motivations to pursue a PhD and long-term career goals; (3) why interested in the Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz; and (4) current CV, academic transcript, and TOEFL score (if applicable). Please see the full announcement here.


Are you an undergrad and want to get experience conducting research? Various opportunities are made possible through research grants and the Environmental Studies Internship Program. Enthusiastic undergrads should contact Dr. Zhu for research interests and opportunities.


We host visiting scholars for periods of a few months to a year. Such visits are generally mutually enriching for both the visitor and our lab. International visitors are advised to check in with the International Student and Scholar Services. Please contact Dr. Zhu with (1) a cover letter in English explaining research interests, motivations to visit our lab, plans to achieve during the visit, proposed dates to visit, and funding sources; (2) current CV in Engish; and (3) names and contacts for 2-3 references.