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Preparing passionate leaders driving change in sustainability and stewardship of the environment.

  —Our Mission

Dr. Richard Cobb

Dr. Richard Cobb

Phone: 756-6333
Office: 10-238

Google Scholar Research Gate A+



Office Hours:

Areas of Focus

Forest Pathology · Forest Entomology · Ecosystem Ecology · Epidemiology

About Dr. Cobb

Dr. Cobb competed a PhD in Ecology from UC Davis in 2010 with research focus on sudden oak death, a damaging disease of California coastal forests. His research interests focus on understanding the underlying drivers, ecological impacts, and potential responses to insect and disease outbreak. Past and current projects aim to improve prediction of when, where, and why outbreaks occur as well as forest-level experimentation to change the course of outbreaks and reduce their economic and ecological costs. His teaching interests combine an interest in ecological science with the strong personal desire to improve forest management at regional and national levels. At Cal Poly, he teaches forest health (insects and pathogens), dendrology, ecology, as well as supporting many aspects of education in forest management. Dr Cobb encourages inquiries into undergraduate and graduate research projects particularly related to forest management and forest conservation issues in California Native American communities.

Teaching Quality Rating1Teaching quality rating A+

Student comments about the teacher:


Dr. Cobb is a fantastic teacher! He presents information in a cool way and allows for effective learning in a low-stress class. Great guy overall as well.

Dr. Cobb is both passionate and knowledgeable on the subject. Really willing to go the extra mile for his students in a multitude of ways. Very approachable and overall good professor.

Amazing professor, I love his passion for the topic.

Dr. Cobb has a great attitude and enthusiasm for the subject matter. He was flexible and responsive to student needs and allotted time based on where the class needed improvement.

Dr. Cobb is extremely knowledgeable about the subject, is a very easy and fun person to interact with, is very honest about grading, and he exemplifies 'Learn By Doing'.


1 Teaching quality rating is based on student teaching evaluations completed by Cal Poly students. A cumulative grand average for all courses taught over the last two years is calculated from responses to the student evaluation question, "Overall, this instructor was educationally effective" that ranges on a scale from 1=Strongly disagree to 5=Strongly agree.

4.5+ A+
4.0 to 4.5 A
3.5 to 4.0 B
3.0 to 3.5 C
Below 3.0 D

Selected Publications

Cobb, R.C., Metz, M.R. 2017. Tree diseases as a cause and effect of interacting forest disturbances. Forests. 8:147; doi:10.3390/f8050147 

Cunniffe, N.J., Cobb, R.C., Meentemeyer, R.K., Rizzo, D.M., Gilligan, C.A. 2016. Modelling when, where and how to manage a forest epidemic: sudden oak death in California. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1073/pnas.1602153113 

Cobb R.C., Meentemeyer, R.K, Rizzo D.M. 2016. Interactive impacts of fire and disease on soil chemistry and carbon. Oecologia 182:265-276 doi:10.1007/s00442-016-3649-7 

Pearse, I.S., Cobb, R.C., Karban, R. 2014. The phenologysubstrate-match hypothesis explains decomposition rates of evergreen and deciduous oak leaves. Journal of Ecology 102:28-35 

Cobb R.C., Rizzo D.M., Hayden K.J., Garbelotto M., Filipe J.A.N., Gilligan C.A., Dillon W., Meentemeyer R.K., Valachovic Y.S., Goheen E., Swiecki T.J., Hansen E.M., Frankel S.J. 2013. Biodiversity conservation in the face of dramatic tree declines: an integrated conservation strategy for tanoak (Notholithocarpus densiflorus) threatened by sudden oak death. Madroño 60:151-164 

Cobb R.C., Filipe J.A.N., Meentemeyer R.K., Gilligan C.A., Rizzo D.M. 2012. Ecosystem transformation by emerging infectious forest disease: loss of large tanoak from California forests. Journal of Ecology 100:712-722 

Filipe J.A.N., Cobb R.C., Meentemeyer R.K., Lee C.A., Valachovic Y.S., Cook A.R., Rizzo D.M., Gilligan C.A. 2012. Landscape epidemiology and control of pathogens with cryptic and long-distance dispersal: Sudden oak death in northern California forests. PLoS Computational Biology 8(1): e1002328. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002328 

Cobb R.C., Meentemeyer R.K, Rizzo D.M. 2010. Apparent competition in canopy trees determined by pathogen transmission rather than susceptibility. Ecology 91:327-333 

Cobb R.C. 2010. Species shifts drive decomposition rates following invasion by hemlock woolly adelgid. Oikos 119:1291-1298 

Orwig D.A., Cobb R.C., DAmato A.W., Kizlinski M.L., Foster D.R. 2008. Ecosystem response to forest infestation by hemlock woolly adelgid. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38:834-843 

Stadler B., Muller T., Orwig D.A., Cobb R.C. 2005. Hemlock woolly adelgid: canopy impacts transforming ecosystem processes and landscapes. Ecosystems 8: 233-247

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