Joan Elizabeth Ball-Damerow


Specimens at the Essig Museum of Entomology


B.S. Environmental Studies, Emory University, 2005

Research Interests

Freshwater ecology, biological indicators, aquatic entomology, land use and climate change, dragonfly distribution, historical ecolgy

Research Description

The intensification of human land use and changing climate are fundamentally altering freshwater ecosystems. Urbanization in particular impairs water quality, increases water temperatures, and in many cases has resulted in complete elimination of natural water bodies. How do these broad-scale factors influence the distribution of aquatic insects, which have both aquatic and terrestrial life stages? To answer this question, I focus on a particularly eye-catching and popular group that people have collected extensively over the past 100 years, the dragonflies. My research explores changes dragonfly communities and individual species distributions in California and Nevada over the past century.

Selected Publications

Ball-Damerow, J.E. 2013.  “Catching the bug: a swarm of volunteers to digitize insect specimens.” Berkeley Science Review. Fall.

Ball, J.E., L.A. Bêche, P.K. Mendez & V.H. Resh. 2013. “Biodiversity in Mediterranean climate streams of California.” Hydrobiologia. 719 (1) 187-213.

Ball, J.E. 2011. “Digitizing the drawers: moving natural history collections online.” Berkeley Science Review. Fall.

Hill, A., R. Guralnick., A. Smith, A. Sallans, R.G. Gillespie, M. Denslow, J. Gross, Z. Murrell, T. Conyers, P.T. Oboyski, J.E. Ball, A. Thomer, R. Prys-Jones, J. de Torre, P. Kociolek & L. Fortson. 2012."The Notes from Nature tool for unlocking biodiversity records from museum records through citizen science." Zookeys. 209 :219-33.

Ball, J.E., S. Diver & J. Hwan.  2009.  “Evidence of streamflow and sediment effects on juvenile coho and benthic macroinvertebrates of Lagunitas Creek and San Geronimo Creek, Marin County, California.”  UC Berkeley Water Resources Archives. May.

Honors and Awards

Margaret C. Walker Fund for graduate research in Systematic Entomology, 2011, 2012, 2013.

Graduate Division Summer Grant, UC Berkeley, 2011, 2012, 2013.

Lewis and Anne Resh Award in Freshwater Ecology and Entomology, 2012.

Edward A. Colman Fellowship in Watershed Management, 2011.

North American Benthological Society, General Endowment Award, 2011.

Robert L. Usinger Award for graduate research in Aquatic Entomology, 2011.



Recent Teaching

General Biology (Bio 1B)

Contact Information


Office: 302 Wellman Hall

Lab Phone: 2-5913


Research Group(s)

Mailing Address

Dept of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
UC Berkeley
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720