Justin Brashares

Justin Brashares

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Professor of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation

University of California, Berkeley
Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management (Division of Ecosystem Sciences)

Faculty Affiliate

UCB Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
UCB Center for African Studies
UCB Graduate Program in Range Management



ESPM faculty profile


NSF Postdoctoral Fellow Cambridge University
Postdoctoral Researcher University of British Columbia
Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 2001
M.Sc. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997
B.A., Biology, Drew University, 1993

Research Interests

My research interests shape and are in turn shaped by my group’s research.

Advice for Graduate Students

Some thoughts for prospective and current grad students.


As a teacher in ESPM, I endeavored to share my excitement for ecology, behavior, conservation and evolution while providing students with a foundation for approaching the ‘big’ questions in environmental sciences. I challenged students to think critically, independently, and creatively, and I continually explore new ways to be more effective as an educator. I approached my undergraduate and graduate students with an open mind and a sensitivity to cultural and ideological diversity. I believe these are traits of any good scientist and teacher. I considered it my responsibility to expose students to different perspectives and approaches to problems. My effectiveness as an educator in this capacity is enhanced by my own research in California and Africa. As an undergraduate, I was thrilled to participate in the “real” research conducted by my professors. I have made it a point to provide undergraduate students from my ESPM 114 classes with opportunities to contribute to my research, and my GSIs and I assisted students in developing their own research projects.

Lecture Courses:

ESPM 114 Wildlife Ecology (3 units)
This is a course for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students that provides an introduction to wildlife ecology and its relationship to management and conservation programs. The course moves from a focus on populations to communities and ecosystems, followed by selected case studies. Students will be introduced to tools used by ecologists including basic population modeling, GIS, and wildlife survey techniques. An optional field trip to observe California’s wildlife is offered. Lectures are combined with weekly discussion sections. Students are expected to complete three exams, participate in discussion activities and complete three assignments during the course of the semester. The course is offered annually in the spring semester. (Podcasts)

Seminar Courses:

ESPM 281 Seminar in Wildlife Biology & Management (2 units)
This is a graduate-level course that covers current issues in the fields of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology. Occasional lectures are mixed with student-led discussions. The course is targeted towards both early and advanced graduate students in ESPM, Integrative Biology and other related departments. In Spring 2007, the course included students from four departments and three colleges. All ESPM divisions also were represented. Students are expected to provide oral and written reviews of current papers, execute a 30 minute presentation and lead the group in discussion during the semester. The course is offered annually in the spring semester.

Special Courses/Supervision:

ESPM 196 Honors Research
ESPM 199 Supervised Independent Study
ESPM 290 Interdisciplinary Environmental Research Seminar
ESPM 298 Directed Group Study
ESPM 299 Individual Graduate Research
ESPM 300 Supervised Teaching in Environmental Science