Professor Caylor is Director of the Earth Research Institute and a Full Professor with appointments in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and the Department of Geography at UCSB. He received his PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia, in 2003. His research seeks to develop improved insight into the way that land use and climate change are interacting to affect the dynamics and resilience of global drylands. His primary research sites are in sub-Saharan Africa, where he is focused on understanding the vulnerability of pastoral and subsistence agricultural communities to current and future changes in hydrological dynamics.

Kelly conducts research at a number of spatial and temporal scales; from small-scale experiments during individual rainfall events all the way up to continental-scale analyses of climate trends. A major focus of his current research efforts is the dynamics of coupled natural-human smallholder agricultural systems and deployment of low-cost cellular-based environmental sensors for improved monitoring of agriculture and ecosystem function in the developing world.

Kelly is a recipient of an Early Career Award from the NSF, and he was the inaugural recipient of Early Career Award in Hydrological Sciences given by the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He is co-founder of Arable Labs, Inc.