Prospective Graduate Students

The Mazer lab in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara is recruiting highly motivated PhD students (for entry into our graduate program in Fall 2023) to investigate the process and outcome of adaptive evolution within and among populations of wild species using a combination of field-based observations and experiments, greenhouse-based experiments, and herbarium derived data. We have enduring interests in wild populations of Clarkia species (Farewell to Spring, Onagraceae) and Nemophila menziesii (Baby Blue Eyes, Boraginaceae). 

We are particularly interested in students who are keen to explore the process and outcome of natural selection (and its constraints) in wild populations.

Promising areas of research include (but are not restricted to):

  • The evolutionary significance of variation within and among populations in fitness-related traits such as size at first flower, flowering phenology (onset and duration), plant-pollinator interactions, petal area, floral pigmentation, pollen performance, pollen and seed size, and sex allocation;
  • Pre- and post-pollination sexual selection on primary and secondary sexual traits;
  • The detection of phenological mismatches between plant populations and their pollinators;
  • The functional significance of variation in floral and vegetative pigments, including UV reflectance/absorption;
  • The evolution of phenotypic plasticity in life history and morphological traits; and
  • The causes and consequences of variation in water use efficiency across an aridity gradient.
  • The evolution of pollen performance within and among populations

Other potential research projects include:

  • Geographically and taxonomically broad studies of the effects of historical and recent climatic conditions (and climate change) on flowering date using herbarium specimens and/or field observations.  Our new four-year grant from NSF's Macrosystems program in the Division of Environmental Biology will provide partial support for a graduate student conducting phenological research using specimen-based data.
  • The study of mating system and correlated traits within and among Clarkia species; 
  • Large-scale studies of the effects of natural selection and phenotypic plasticity on the onset or duration of flowering within and among species;
  • Identifying the factors influencing seed mass evolution within large angiosperm or gymnosperm genera, families, or higher taxa;
  • The study of climatic and other environmental drivers of plant phenology using herbarium-derived and/or field data. 
  • Your idea here! 

Prospective students interested in exploring these opportunities may write directly to me at:

PhD candidates who are applying for an NSF pre-doctoral Graduate Fellowship are very welcome and are eligible for very attractive and generous offers of graduate support from UCSB's Graduate Division.

Prospective students may apply electronically to UCSB’s Graduate Division via the following URL:

For more information about the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at UCSB, please explore: