Ph.D. August 2003
University of California, Los Angeles, CA.
Major: Geography emphasis Biogeography, Conservation, and
Masters of Science August 1997
Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA.
Major: Natural Resource Management emphasis Wildlife Management
Bachelor of Arts May 1990
University of California, Davis, CA.
Major: Sociology of Law
Research and Teaching Interests
My research interests are focused on identifying the
distribution of biodiversity and the spatial aspects of human
impact on our natural environment. I am currently working
on several research projects to provide documentation on the distribution and type of contemporary and historical wetlands
in southern California. You can find out more about some of the projects at the Center for Geographical Studies website. For our Southern California Wetlands Mapping Project we are mapping contemporary coastal wetlands from Pt. Conception to the Mexican Border. The project is funded through Proposition 50 funds via the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP). Our working partners on the project are SCCWRP, the National Wetlands Inventory, and the Wetlands Recovery Task Force. Our wetland maps will serve as the foundation for wetlands assessment and inventory throughout southern California.
I have also been working on several historical ecology projects to document the natural landscape in southern California prior to the arrival of Europeans. These projects are fascinating and always teach me something new about the southern Califonria landscape. My students benefit immensely from these projects by learning new tools in GIS used to interpret historical cartographic information as well as by developing a critical sense of the historical environment. There is so much we have to learn and so much we have taken for granted about the natural environment in southern California.
have an interest in the invasion of non-native species into
the mediterranean ecosystems of California. My research has
focused on the invasion of both plants and animals from a
spatial perspective. I believe strongly that the discipline
of geography can make a significant contribution to this phenomena
by providing both a spatial and a cultural perspective. I would also like to continue to conduct work
that assesses the distribution of forest carnivores in southern
California. Finally, in case it isn't obvious, I have a strong
interest in GIS and remote sensing. The discipline of geography
has undergone immense changes as a result of advances in both
of these technologies. We now have an opportunity and responsibility
to explore the world from a completely new perspective.
My teaching interests are in the area of environmental geography.
I find that students interested in environmental issues bring
a sense of interest and action to the classroom that is unparalleled
in my other teaching experiences. I believe that in order
for students to have a solid understanding environmental issues
they must understand the physical and cultural processes at
work and I believe that only geography can properly deliver
this approach. Teaching is a true passion of mine! My students
constantly remind me that there is hope for conservation and
a world where the environment is respected.
Introduction to Physical Geography
Geography of World Ecosystems
Introduction to GIS
Environmental Applications of GIS
Environmental Geography (CSUN)
Dark, S., R. Gutierrez, and G. Gould. 1998. The invasion
of Barred Owls (Strix varia) in California: Potential impacts
on the Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis). The Auk 115(1): 50-56.
Dark, S. 2004. The biogeography of invasive plants in California:
An application of GIS and spatial regression analysis. Diversity
and Distributions 10:1-9.
Dark, S. and T.W. Gillespie. 2004. Using Landsat imagery
to assess the distribution of alien plant species in coastal
sage scrub of the Santa Monica Mountains, California. In Ecology,
Conservation, and Management of Mediterranean Climate Ecosystems,
Arianoutsou, M. and V.P. Papanastasis (eds). Millpress Science
Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Smith, A., T. Gillespie, S. Dark, and M. Shin. 2006. “Species Richness and Abundance of Coral Reef Fishes in the Florida Keys Following a Decline in Coral Cover.” Florida Scientist, 70(2): 137-147.
S. Dark, R. Maas, J. Mejia, and N. Belliappa. 2006. “An Examination of Wetland Diversity in Ventura County, California.” APCG Yearbook, Vol. 68: 79-93.
S. Dark, D. Bram, M. Quinones, L. Duong, J. Patanaan, J. Dooley, M. Antos, S. Sutula, and E. Blok. 2006. Wetland and riparian mapping within the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy territory: a landscape profile. Technical Report 519. Southern California Coastal Water Reserach Project, Coasta Mesa, CA.
S. Dark and D. Bram. 2007. “The modifiable areal unit problem in physical geography.” Progress in Physical Geography, 31(5): 471-479.
Stein, E.D., S. Dark, T. Longcore, N. Hall, M. Beland, R. Grossinger, J. Casanova, M. Sutula. 2007. Historical ecology and landscape change of the San Gabriel River and floodplain. Technical Report 499. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.
Stein,E.D., S. Dark, T. Longcore, R. Grossinger, N. Hall, and M. Beland. 2010. Historical Ecology as Tool for Assessing Landscape Change and Informing Wetland Restoration Priorities. Wetlands 30: 589-601.
Grossinger,R, E.D. Stein, K. Cayce, R. Askevold, S. Dark, A. Whipple. 2011. Historical Wetlands of the Southern California Coast: An Atlas of US Coast Survey T-sheets, 1851-1889. Technical Report 589. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA and San Francisco Estuary Institute, Oakland, CA.
Beller, E.E., R. Grossinger, M. Salomon, S. Dark, E. Stein, B.K. Orr, P.W. Downs, T. Longcore, G. Coffman, A. Whipple, R. Askevlod, B. Standford, and J. Beagle. 2011. Historical Ecology of the lower Santa Clara River, Ventura River, and Oxnard Plain: an analysis of terrestrial, riverine, and coastal habitats. Techincal Report 641. San Francisco Estuary Institute, Oakland, CA.
Dark, S., E.D. Stein, D. Bram, J. Oscuna, J. Monteferante, T. Longcore, R. Grossinger, and E. Beller. 2011. Historical Ecology of the Ballona Creek Watershed. Technical Report 671. Southern California Coastal Water Research project. Costa Mesa, CA.
Dark, S., E.D. Stein, D. Bram, and J. Osuna. 2012. Historical Ecology as a Living Resource for Informing Urban Wetland Restoration. Urban Coast 3:54-60.
S.J. Dark. 1996. A landscape-scale analysis of mammalian carnivore
distribution and habitat use by fisher. M.S. Thesis. Humboldt
S.J. Dark. 2003. The distribution of invasive plants at a
local and landscape scale in California. Ph.D. Dissertation,
UCLA, August 2004
Posters and Presentations
D. Bram, Dr. Shawna Dark. Using GIS to Create Efficiencies in Statewide Water Policy: California Basin Plan Project. 2012. CalGIS, Sacramento, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark. “Using Historical Aerial Photography to Map Wetlands.” 2009. ASPRS Conference, San Diego, Ca.
Dr. Shawna Dark, Danielle Bram, Dr. Martha Sutula, and Dr. Eric Stein. 2008. “The Southern California Wetlands Mapping Project.” ESRI User Conference, San Diego, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark, Danielle Bram, Dr. Martha Sutula, and Dr. Eric Stein. 2008. “The Southern California Wetlands Mapping Project.” H20 Conference, San Diego, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark, Eric Stein, Martha Sutula, Travis Longcore, Robin Grossinger, Michael Beland, and Nick Hall. 2007. “Historical Ecology of the San Gabriel River Floodplain: An Application of GIS.” Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Annual Conference, Long Beach, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark. 2007. “Historical Wetlands Mapping of the San Gabriel River Watershed.” California Geographical Society Annual Conference, Anza Borrego State Park, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark, Eric Stein, Robin Grossinger, and Travis Longcore. 2007. “Historical Wetlands Mapping of the San Gabriel River Watershed.” ESRI Annual Users Conference, San Diego, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark and Dr. Eugene Turner. 2006. “GIS Opportunities at California State University, Northridge.” CalGIS Annual Conference, Santa Barbara, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark. 2006. “Historical Wetlands Mapping of the San Gabriel River.” CSUN, Department of Biology, Research Colloquium, October, 2006, Northridge, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark. 2005. “Mapping Wetland Diversity in A Mediterranean Climate.” ESRI Annual Users Conference, San Diego, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark. 2005. “Using Landsat Imagery to Assess the Distribution of Alien Plant Species in the Santa Monica Mountains.” California State University Faculty Research Poster and Publication Fair, Northridge, CA.
Dr. Shawna Dark, Regan Maas, Namrata Belliappa, John Davenport, Jason Mejia, California State University, Northridge. 2005. “Mapping the Wetlands of Ventura County, CA: An Application of the Cowardin Classification System.” Association of Pacific Coast Geographers 2004 Annual Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA.
S.J. Dark and T.W. Gillespie. 2004. “Using Landsat imagery to assess the distribution of alien plant species in coastal sage scrub of the Santa Monica Mountains, California” MEDECOS Annual Conference, Rhodes, Greece.
S.J. Dark. 2004. “Assessment of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index as a proxy for non-native alien plant invasion in Coastal Sage Scrub of the Santa Monica Mountains, CA.” American Association of Geographers 2004 Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
Research Assistant. Climatology (Atmospheric
Circulation and Antarctic Sea Ice Concentration). UCLA, Geography
Dept. (December 1999 – June 2002). Performed analysis
and programming tasks using both IDL and NCL programming languages
as part of a larger climate model study. Other assignments
included programming in IDL and NCL for visualization of time
series data and maps of sea ice concentration.
GIS Consultant. Wildlands Project. (February
2001 - June 2001). Performed basic GIS tasks such as digitizing
and spatial analysis of protected habitat for wildlife species.
Data were used for analysis of wildlife habitat linkages in
GIS Programmer Analyst. HazInfo, Sherman
Oaks, California. (December 1998 – December 1999). Created
customized ArcView application for real-estate hazard mapping
company. Other responsibilities included checking GIS data
layers for error, georeferencing data, digitizing, and trouble
Geographic Analyst. Los Angeles County Natural
History Museum/Southern California Edison (May 1998 –
January 2000). Performed spatial analysis with GIS for electric
utility company. Assignments included customization of GIS
applications, programming with Avenue, creation of maps and
Research Associate. Economics Research Associates,
Los Angeles, California (April 1997 - May 1998). Developed
economic feasibility studies with a focus on GIS and demographic
analyses. Studies focused on the development of entertainment
projects with analysis of economic trends relative to population
Research Associate. Dr. Rocky Gutierrez.
Spotted Owl Project. Humboldt State University (April 1996
- March 1997). Research involved analysis of the Spotted Owl
population throughout California and the Pacific Northwest.
Performed basic statistical analysis and GIS mapping on several
projects. Work resulted in publication of Barred Owl invasion
paper (see publications).
Research Biologist. Shasta-Trinity Fisher
Project. Wildlife Department, Humboldt State University (January
1994 - March 1997). Research focused on identifying the distribution
of fisher and other forest carnivores at a landscape scale.
Managed team of 2-4 people. Performed radio-telemetry and
track plate surveys on fisher year round.
Research Assistant. Dr. Rocky Gutierrez.
Spotted Owl Project. Humboldt State University (April 1993-September
1993). Assistant in Spotted Owl survey for the southern Spotted
Owl in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.
Research Assistant. Dr. Rick Golightly. Wildlife
Department, Humboldt State University