The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning
Diane Pataki, PhD

Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Diane Pataki, PhD

University Faculty Profile

Dr. Diane E. Pataki is a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah with adjunct appointments in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah and the Ecology Center and Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning at Utah State University. At the University of Utah she also serves as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Science and Associate Director of the Center for Ecological Planning & Design in the College of Architecture + Planning. Prior to arriving in Utah in 2012, she was on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine for 8 years where she was the founding Director of the Center for Environmental Biology and the Steele Burnand Anza Borrego Desert Research Center. She received a B.A. in environmental science at Barnard College and an M.S. and Ph.D. at the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Pataki’s work is transdisciplinary and has spanned the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, coupled human-natural processes related to urban CO2 emissions, and the role of urban landscaping and forestry in the socioecology of cities. For the last two decades her work has been focused on human-environment interactions related to urban biodiversity, resource use, and landscape design. In her research projects in the semi-arid, urbanized landscapes of the western U.S., she collaborates with social scientists, urban planners, landscape architects, engineers, and local stakeholders to understand the ecological and social consequences of urban landscape change. Dr. Pataki is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and Chief Specialty Editor for the joint Urban Ecology section of the journals Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution and Frontiers in Sociology. She is a member of the National Science Foundation Directorate for Biological Sciences Advisory Committee (NSF BIO AC) and the Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education (NSF AC ERE). She has previously served as a Program Director in the NSF Division of Environmental Biology and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Board of Scientific Counselors. Her recent essays on people and nature in cities can be found at