Clara Elias

I grew up chasing butterflies with my father, an amateur collector, in Philadelphia, PA and witnessed firsthand the steady decline in the diversity of butterflies in my own backyard.  As I came to understand the crucial role insects play in our ecosystems, I become passionate about insect conservation.  I pursued this interest as an undergraduate at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, where I double majored in biology and environmental studies. During my time at Lewis & Clark I volunteered in a spider evolution lab and for the City of Portland conducting butterfly surveys. After graduating I enthusiastically jumped into the world of butterfly conservation, working with federally threatened and endangered butterflies through my work with the Nature Conservancy and researchers from Washington State University Vancouver.

I started my studies at UC Davis in 2006 in the Graduate Group in Ecology. I am broadly interested in landscape ecology and conservation biology. My research focuses on the seasonal colonization of high elevation sites and the use of ephemeral host plants by the Acmon Blue, Plebejus acmon. I am especially interested in how these butterflies find and utilize resources within the landscape and how egg laying behavior is affected by ephemeral resources.

I am an active member of the local community in Davis.  I serve as a representative on the Davis Police Community Advisory Board and participate in the Davis Cooperative Community Network, which supports intentional communities (co-ops and cohousing).