Ben Sacks

I am Associate Adjunct Professor and Director of the Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit (MECU), a research unit in the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. I lead a team composed of faculty, post-doctoral,  graduate, and undergraduate researchers. .I have served as Director of the Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit (formerly Canid Diversity and Conservation Unit) at UC Davis since 2007 and briefly as Assistant Professor at California State University, Sacramento (2007-2010).



PhD, Ecology, University of California, Davis, 2002; MS, Wildlife Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 1996; BS, Biology, University of Maryland, 1991

We use genetic and genomic tools, along with field methodologies, to investigate basic and applied problems in ecology, evolution, and conservation of mammals. General topics include

  • Ecology, evolution, and systematics of carnivores, ungulates, and rodents
  • Endangered species conservation
  • Application of genomic tools to conservation and wildlife management

Some current systems under study at the MECU (see Current Research for more information):

Threatened and endangered species/species of conservation need: Sierra Nevada red fox, Cascade red fox, Sacramento Valley red fox, Oregon kit fox, Eastern (Algonquin wolves), Tibetan and Indian wolves, Lions of Botswana, tule elk, salt marsh harvest mouse, giant kangaroo rat, blunt-nosed leopard lizards

Game species/management tools: Developing noninvasive genetic approaches to abundance and demographic parameter estimation in mule and black-tailed deer and Roosevelt, Rocky Mountain, and tule elk