Kathryn Davis




  • Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Berkeley
  • M.A., History (Gender and Latin America), San Francisco State University
  • B.A. History, San Francisco State University



Research Interests

  • Extreme Environments: Ocean & Desert
  • Environmental History
  • Historical Ecology
  • Race, Gender, Class & Nature
  • Women in Science


Dr. Davis joined the Environmental Studies Department in Fall 2016 after 15 years in the Geography Department. She received her doctorate degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Geography, an M.A. in Latin American and Gender History from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in History from San Francisco State University.

Her research and writing have been historical in nature, looking at the Monterey sardine industry, serving as historical consultant to the Monterey Bay Aquarium during the redesign of the entry lobby exhibit on the industry. Most of her writing to date has contributed to a growing subfield of biography as history of science. She has written about Edward F. Ricketts and is currently completing a science biography of botanical collector and naturalist, Ynes Mexia.

Kate has had a lifelong interest in the ocean environment and the creatures within.  She has a special place in her heart for octopuses and other deep-sea creatures.  Her research interests have turned toward extreme environments. She is especially fascinated by the similarities between ocean and desert “extreme” environments. As ecosystems they are very different and yet the same, neither as desolate as they appear on the surface. Why are humans both attracted and repelled by them? This is the direction her future research and writing will take.

Courses Taught

  • ENVS 001: Introduction to Environmental Issues
  • ENVS 105: Environmental Change and Problems, San Francisco Bay
  • ENVS 106: Exploring Ocean Environments
  • ENVS 117: Human Ecology
  • ENVS 150: Introduction to Environmental Thought
  • ENVS 200: Seminar: Environmental Methods
  • GLST 162: Contemporary Global Issues
  • GLST 167: Changing Ecologies of Globalization