Tom has been a biology professor at San Francisco State University since 1980. He was raised in Texas, attended the University of Texas, Austin, and discovered California in graduate school at UC Santa Barbara. His first job was at Rider College in New Jersey, but he kept looking for jobs back in California because of the flora and amazing beauty of the state. Manzanitas fell into his life because he was interested in evolutionary ecology and manzanitas have both obligate seeders and resprouting species after fire. Currently, only 9 manzanita species occupy his front yard. He’s an active researcher in ecology and evolution, and besides chaparral and wildfire, Tom has investigated tidal wetlands, oak woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, coastal scrub and high elevation Sierran forests.