Laura Drake Schultheis, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

Office Location

Whittier 128

Office Available

(Spring 2023)  M 2-3;  W 9:30-10:30 


Plant ecology, physiological ecology, environmental ecology, and plant-fungal interactions.

Research Interests

Plant adaptions and responses to drought, plant-fungal diseases, fire ecology and fuels
management, chaparral recovery and restoration following fire


Laura graduated from Westmont in 2006 with a B.S. in Biology and emphasis in Environmental Biology. She earned her CA secondary teaching credential in 2007, and went on to teach science at the middle, high school, and college levels. 

In 2013 she returned to graduate school at UC Santa Barbara and joined the D’Antonio lab to study plant ecology. She earned a Master’s degree in 2016, focusing on physiological plant ecology, and in 2021 completed her PhD on the roles of drought and introduced opportunistic fungi in dieback and mortality of manzanita shrubs.

Other research interests include shrubland recovery and restoration following fire, vegetation and fire fuels mapping using remote sensing tools, and landscape management in the context of climate change.