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Welcome to the Human Ecology Lab


The Human Ecology Laboratory groups together students and researchers to explore the relationships between people and the environment through time. In particular, the lab focuses on understanding Social Vulnerability related to Climate Change.

Cultivating Relationships
  • Building horizontal relationships with communities
  • Emphasizing collaboration across departments and institutions

Combining Perspectives
  • Identifying community-relevant research questions
  • Recovering past knowledge

Expanding Understanding
  • Decolonizing historical accounts
  • Answering questions about the past
  • Informing solutions to climate-related issues in the present

We respectfully acknowledge that UCSD occupies the territory of Kumeyaay/Kumiai Nation on which our work occurs and to whom we owe honor and gratitude. Our research and work acknowledges the Borikua / Boriken / CanJibaro / Taino and their island territory.

Humans of the Lab

Meet Katrina Cantu

We'd like you to meet our Katrina,
who spends lots of time around dirt.
She sees it in cores
and gardens outdoors,
as tea that's green keeps her alert.

"The deader* the better."
Katrina Cantu

*Katrina studies aquatic microfossils in sediment cores. Fossils are dead. No need for alarm. Click the photo to read more about Katrina and her work!

Where are we now?

See how we connect around the world.

Climate Art by Simona Clausnitzer

92 years ago, my grandma was tossed out of a second-story window to escape San Felipe Segundo, the worst recorded hurricane to hit Puerto Rico until María hit decades later. Communities were torn apart as the only two documented Category 5 hurricanes ripped across the Island, one almost a century ago and the other 3 years ago. My family, like countless others, lost everything in that 1928 storm and emigrated to the mainland.

These pieces are in remembrance of those lived experiences.

Quick links

SCMA - Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology

DUNAS - Descendants United for Nature, Adaptation, and Sustainability

SIO - Scripps Institution of Oceanography