Adina Merenlender

Cooperative Extension Specialist, Adjunct Professor

Adina M crop


  • PhD Biology University of Rochester, 1993
  • B.S. Biology University of California, San Diego, 1985

Research Interests

Conservation biology

Research Description

My primary focus is in the field of conservation biology. In particular, I am interested in the forces that influence loss of biodiversity at all hierarchical levels from genes to ecosystems. My experience spans from single species management to regional land use planning. I am also Founder and Director of the UC California Naturalist Program. This new community of practice introduces Californians to the wonders of our unique ecology and engages the public in environmental stewardship. My other interests include connectivity science, citizen science, ecological monitoring, restoration ecology, cumulative impacts to watersheds, and working landscapes.

Current Projects

My research program covers a diverse suite of projects that involve mapping, monitoring, and modeling natural resources and human land-use patterns. I have developed an applied research program that integrates biodiversity research and conservation planning in California's oak woodlands. This is done through integrating spatially explicit land use change models with environmental data. Our current focus is on habitat connectivity and climate change resilience of protected area networks and vineyard landscape ecology.  The students and staff who work with me study wildlife in the agricultural matrix, watershed restoration, and sustainable land use.

To assess the effects of land-use conversion on biodiversity, my research group is measuring biological community integrity and diversity found in different land use types such as suburban developments, small ranches, vineyards and undeveloped areas within similar oak woodland habitat. This data in combination with a development and agricultural build out models for Sonoma County gives a full picture of the future threats to the biological resources in the region. Our previous work has suggested that invasive species from agricultural and developed areas differentially impact wildlands depending on the landscape configuration of these areas and their surrounding matrix. Graduate students are addressing this issue for a suite of invasive species and the native communities most likely impacted.

I am actively facilitating an interdisciplinary research team focused on sustainable water use in Mediterranean watersheds. This research draws on biology, hydrology, and sociology to develop decision support tools that can help prioritize restoration of stream flow for improved juvenile salmon survivorship and increase water certainty for agricultural uses. This new program takes advantage of ongoing work in the lab on the relationship between land use and stream condition for salmon.

We developed and recently revised a GIS decision-making tool for Sonoma County open space planners to identify properties that contain priority natural and agricultural assets that should be considered for conservation easements. The products of this type of research will help county planners avoid making decisions at a local level without the benefit of understanding the patterns of change at the regional level.Working with the UC Cooperative Extension’s Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program provides an opportunity for us to implement natural resource conservation and education programs in north west California. For more information please see our lab web site.

Selected Publications

MATELLA, M. and MERENLENDER, A. M. 2014 Scenarios for restoring floodplain ecology given changes to river flows under climate change: Case from the San Joaquin River, California River Research and Applications Online
KITZES, J. and A. M. MERENLENDER 2014 Large roads reduce bat activity across multiple species. PlosOne Online
T. E. GRANTHAM, M. MEZZATESTA, D. A. NEWBURN and A. M. MERENLENDER 2014. Evaluating Tradeoffs Between Environmental Flow Protections And Agricultural Water Security. River Research and Applications 30(3):315-328
DETCH, M. J., KONDOLF, G. M., and A. M. MERENLENDER 2013 Cumulative Effects of Small Reservoirs on Streamflow in Northern Coastal California Catchments Water Resources Management 27(15):5101-5118
MERENLENDER, A. M. and MATELLA, M. 2013 Maintaining and restoring hydrologic habitat connectivity in mediterranean streams: an integrated modeling framework. Hydrobiologia February 2013 (online)
KITZES, J. and A. M. MERENLENDER 2013 Extinction risk and tradeoffs in reserve site selection for species of different body sizes. Conservation Letters March 2013 (online)
DE NEVERS, G., EDELMAN, D.S., and A. M. MERENLENDER 2013. The California Naturalist Handbook UC Press
RUDNICK D.A., .RYAN, S., BEIER, P., SAMUEL CUSHMAN, FRED DIEFFENBACH, CLINTON W. EPPS, LEAH GERBER, JOEL HARTTER, JEFF JENNESS, JULIA KINTSCH, ADINA M. MERENLENDER, RYAN M. PERKL, DAMIAN V. PREZIOSI, AND STEPHEN C. TROMBULAK 2012 The Role of Landscape Connectivity in Planning and Implementing Conservation and Restoration Priorities. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology Issue 16
GRANTHAM, T. E., NEWBURN, A. D., McCARTHY, M. A., and A. M. MERENLENDER 2012 The role of stream flow and land use in limiting over-summer survival of juvenile steelhead trout in California streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:585–598, 2012

Honors and Awards

Conservation planning award - American Planning Association - 2001

Recent Teaching

  • 90 - INTRO TO CRS

Contact Information


Office: Hopland Research and Extension Center

Office Phone: 707-744-1270

Fax: (707) 744-1040


Curriculum Vitae


Office Hours

By Appointment

Research Group(s)

Mailing Address

Hopland Research and Extension Center
4070 University Road
Hopland, California 95449-9717