Theresa Talley integrates research, education, and conservation to advance science and address environmental issues while engaging the public and training tomorrow’s leaders. Her research interests include integration within ecology, often combining landscape, ecosystem, community and/or population ecological approaches to predict outcomes of restoration and disturbance, such as climate change and species invasions, in coastal ecosystems. Her broad ecosystem experience—from marine upstream to freshwater riparian ecosystems, and from subtidal upland to coastal sage scrub—allows her to take a watershed approach in addressing coastal environmental issues.
Talley’s research in coastal ecosystems spans both coasts of North America, with experience from New England, California and Baja California, Mexico. Her work tests the influences on coastal ecosystem function especially during ecosystem restoration, species invasions and climate change. Several recent projects have assessed the controls on native ecosystem development, and the effects of species invasions, in particular strong ecosystem engineers (date palm, crown daisy, burrowing isopod). Another project aims to understand the multiscale drivers of arid wetland community structure to improve our predictions of how these underappreciated ecosystems and their valuable ecosystem services may change through time. Most recently, Talley has started exploring the potential of San Diego’s coastal wetlands as sites of native oyster and bivalve restoration. All of her scientific research strives to advance our understanding of natural ecosystems, and also accomplishes conservation and education.
Talley participates in outreach activities for the public, environmental practitioners and educators, and since 2005 has taught a diversity of ecology, biology and environmental science classes at UCSD and both the University of San Francisco and the University of San Diego giving her the ability to effectively teach and communication across a range of audiences. Since 2005, Talley has also served as a science advisor and wetland scientist for the Ocean Discovery Institute.
Talley received a bachelor’s degree in Botany from Connecticut College, a master’s degree in Biology from San Diego State University and her doctorate in Ecology from University of California, Davis.