Karen Abbott

External Advisory Board Member

Dr. Karen Abbott is a theoretical ecologist in the Department of Biology at Case Western University.  Karen uses mathematical models of interacting species to explore possible causes for why species occur where they do and what makes their abundances fluctuate over time. She focuses on identifying natural phenomena that are not fully explained by existing ecological theory and investigates how new biologically motivated models might improve our mechanistic understanding of these phenomena. Some of Karen’s 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 ecological systems. Karen’s 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. Karen served on SESYNC’s Scientific Review Committee from 2013–2017 and on SESYNC’s External Advisory Board from 2018–2021.

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Photo of Karen Abbott
2018 - 2020
Areas of Expertise
theoretical ecology
Research Interests
species interactions
population dynamics
evolution & climate change
Methods of Expertise
mathematical modeling