Karen Abbott

Professor, Associate Chair

Research Interests: Theoretical Population and Community Ecology

I use mathematical models of interacting species to explore possible causes for why species occur where they do and what makes their abundances fluctuate over time.  I focus on identifying natural phenomena that are not fully explained by existing ecological theory and I investigate how new biologically-motivated models might improve our mechanistic understanding of these phenomena.  Some of my work is aimed at investigating the theoretical basis for large-scale ecological patterns, and some is focused more narrowly on applying models to understand particular systems. My interests are broad and I enjoy working on a variety of topics; recent projects include spatial synchrony in forest insect outbreaks, plant-herbivore dynamics, evolution and climate change in plant-pollinator communities, impact and spread of invasive species, and the application of linear models to ecological time series.