Diane Pataki
  • Associate Vice President for Research, Vp For Research
  • Adjunct Professor, City & Metropolitan Planning
  • Adjunct Professor, School Of Biological Sciences

Research Summary

My lab studies human-environment interactions related to urban vegetation, resource use, and landscape design. In our research projects in semi-arid, irrigated cities we collaborate with social scientists, urban planners, landscape architects, engineers, philosophers, and local stakeholders to understand the interacting roles of climate, biodiversity, and human agency in urban ecological processes.


  • B.A., Environmental Science, Barnard College, Columbia University
  • M.S., Ecology, School of the Environment, Duke University
  • Ph.D., Ecology, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment


Dr. Diane E. Pataki is a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences with an adjunct appointment in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning. She also serves as Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Utah. Prior to arriving in Utah in 2012, she was on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine for 8 years where she was the founding Director of the Center for Environmental Biology and the Steele Burnand Anza Borrego Desert Research Center. She received a B.A. in environmental science at Barnard College and an M.S. and Ph.D. at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Pataki’s work is transdisciplinary and has spanned the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, coupled human-natural processes related to urban CO2 emissions, and the role of urban landscaping and forestry in the socioecology of cities. Dr. Pataki is a Fulbright Global Scholar and a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the Ecological Society of America. She is the Chief Specialty Editor for the joint Urban Ecology section of the journals Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution and Frontiers in Sociology, and a member of the National Science Foundation Directorate for Biological Sciences Advisory Committee (NSF BIO AC) and the Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education (NSF AC ERE). She has previously served as a Program Director in the NSF Division of Environmental Biology and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Board of Scientific Counselor, and is also currently Vice President for Science of the Ecological Society of America.