Dr. Gail Drus was born in California and completed her Bachelor’s (2002) and Master’s (2004) degrees at California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly), Pomona. As a Master’s student, she served as a Teaching Associate for General Biology, Botany and Vertebrate Zoology Labs where she discovered her love of teaching. Following the completion of her Master’s degree, Cal Poly Pomona retained her as a Lecturer where she taught General Biology and Vertebrate Zoology. She also taught General Biology, Human Biology and Human Anatomy as an Adjunct at Victor Valley and Mount San Antonio Community Colleges. She returned to school to obtain a Ph.D. in the Fire Ecology of Invasive Plants (2013) at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where she served as a Teaching Assistant, and Teaching Associate/Lecturer. While at UCSB she taught lecture, laboratory, and field courses in Plant Invasion, Botany, Introduction to Ecology and Evolution, Diversity of Life, Controversial Topics in Biology, and Tropical Ecology. Since arriving at Saint Francis University, she has been able to apply her broad teaching experience to General Biology courses, Science for Active Citizenship, Environmental Studies, Natural History of Vertebrates, Natural History of Costa Rica, Plant Diversity, Advanced Botany, Field Biology of Manatees, and Field Biology in Arizona courses.
Dr. Drus’ research focuses on the effects of species invasions on plant community structure and function. She specializes in invasive plant biology, plant community and population ecology, fire ecology, and desert riparian ecology. She has experience developing burn plans, characterizing fire severity and post-fire recovery and utilizing plant physiology to characterize fire damage and to predict plant survival. She has ongoing research collaborations in the fields of plant invasion and riparian ecology. She has a background in ornithology, herpetology, and in the collection of biological specimens related to these disciplines. She applies the breadth of her research experience to her courses and to the mentorship of undergraduate research projects.
Dr. Drus has published in the International Journal of Wildfire, the Journal of Biological Control, and was a contributing author to the book “Tamarix: a case study of ecological change in the American West.” She has also shared her research through numerous invited presentations, posters, and professional meetings such as the Ecological Society of America, Tamarisk and Russian Olive Research Conferences, and Weeds Management Associations. The outcomes of her research have contributed to general ecological knowledge concerning the impacts and management of invasive plant species. She continues to study invasive riparian plants (particularly Japanese Knotweed) at Saint Francis University.
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