Deborah K. Letourneau

Deborah Letourneau

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Letourneau retired in 2018, and is no longer taking new students. She is Professor Emerita in the Environmental Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with expertise in plant-insect interactions, biodiversity for ecosystem services, and environmental risk in mainstream agriculture. She is author of ~100 research articles and book chapters and co-edited 3 books on topics that include vegetation management for biological control of insect pests, food webs in organic versus conventional crop fields, trophic cascades in forest habitats, and environmental risks of genetically modified crops. She received the UCSC Chemers Award for Outstanding Research in the Social Sciences in 2014, has served as Chair of the Agroecology Section of the Ecological Society of America, member of the National Research Council’s Committee on environmental impacts of genetically modified plants, and editor for the international journal Environmental Biosafety Research. As an Assistant Professor, she was featured in Discover Magazine’s 1991 issue on women in science. She spent sabbatical leave during 2009 as a Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellow at the Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia offering a course on Biodiversity and Agriculture with Drs. Inge Armbrecht and James Montoya Lerma. She has shared her datasets on parasitoid diversity and ecosystem services with colleagues who are asking new questions or compiling metadata. She is enjoying retirement and continues some writing projects involving women in agroecology and the political economy of the pesticide treadmill.

Deborah K. Letourneau received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Biology and Zoology, respectively, from the University of Michigan, USA, and a PhD in Entomology from the University of California at Berkeley, Division of Biological Control.

Graduate Student Stephanie Webb




Stephanie's dissertation research is an interdisciplinary exploration of herring fisheries, including fisher livelihoods, market innovation, conservation policy, historical take records and commodity chain analyses, to understand opportunities for sustainable practices. She has received grants and awards for innovative research, including the Berkeley Big Ideas award for fishery application development and the Research and Innovation Fellow with WorldFish, conducting commodity chain analyses on farmed and wild fish resources in Egypt, working with fishmongers and resource poor consumers to understand the points at which interventions could increase local food security.  Drawing from human geography, policy analysis, marketing, and political economy, she examines how power and socio-ecological relationships influence food access, natural resources and economies.

Stephanie has many years experience in sustainable fish production and livelihood security in the United States,designing and implementing projects that solve complex problems facing fishermen, fish farmers, aquatic and marine ecosystems, and equity within supply chains. One of her goals is to elevate general and institutional knowledge about the struggles of fishermen and fish farmers, and bridge the gap between land and sea-based food producing communities. Stephanie is passionate about food. Where it comes from, how it’s sourced and how consumer choices affect the ecosystem and livelihoods of producers -- with a dedication to addressing injustices within our seafood system by bringing several years of corporate finance to fishing dependent communities in search of economic solutions. She has advised these communities in areas such as organizational development, finance, raising capital, business and sustainability planning, traceability, and marketing that illuminate their selective fishing and farming practices and iconic commercial fishing heritage.  


Undergraduate Student Researchers and Interns

students doing research at the UCSC farm





Our diverse and enthusiastic undergraduate students have been an integral part of Letourneau's Environmental Interactions Lab as they engaged in senior thesis research projects, independent studies and gained skills and experience through field research and lab-based internships.