Professor Katriona Shea


Theoretical Applied Ecology

office: 415A Mueller Laboratory
phone: +1 814-865-7910 
lab: 415 Mueller Laboratory
lab phone: +1 814-865-791

Department web page

I am in the Department of Biology but am also a faculty member of the IDGP in Ecology.

Research Interests:

My primary research interest is in the use of ecological theory, particularly life history-based models, in population management.  I address issues in conservation, harvesting, epidemiology and the control of invasive species.  An in-depth ecological understanding is essential for successful management, and this research focus allows me to ask important ecological questions for species of special concern.  For example, I address the ecological factors that make certain species successful invaders of specific communities, at the same time as examining the ways in which we can manipulate these factors to achieve management goals.  My research focuses on population management in a variety of ways, including quantitative theoretical studies of real systems, purely theoretical studies that inform practical approaches, and empirical work.


  • B.A. (Hons.) in Physics at New College, Oxford, UK (1990).
  • Ph.D. in Theoretical Population Ecology at Imperial College, University of London, UK (1994).
  • Postdoctoral Researcher on the factors affecting host-parasitoid population dynamics and stability at UC Santa Barbara (1994-96).
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cooperative Research Centre for Weed Management, CSIRO, Australia, modeling the ecology and integrated management of invasive weeds (1996-99).
  • Invited School Visitor at the Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra (1997-98).
  • Postdoctoral Researcher UC Santa Cruz, working on conservation strategies for endangered salmonids (1999-2000).

Selected Publications:

  • Campbell, C., Yang, Y., Albert, R. and Shea, K. (2011) A network model for plant-pollinator community assembly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 108(1): 197- 202.
  • Miller, A.D., Roxburgh, S.H. and Shea, K. (2011) How frequency and intensity shape diversity-disturbance relationships. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 108(14): 5643-5648.
  • Shea, K., Jongejans, E., Skarpaas, O., Kelly, D., Sheppard, A. (2010) Optimal management strategies to control local population growth or population spread may not be the same. Ecological Applications 20(4): 1148-1161.
  • Shea, K. (2007) How the Wood Moves. Science 315: 1231-1232. Skarpaas, O. and Shea, K. (2007) Dispersal patterns, dispersal mechanism and invasion wave speeds for Carduus thistles. American Naturalist 170(3): 421-430.
  • Skarpaas, O., Auhl, R. and Shea, K. (2006) Environmental variability and the initiation of dispersal: turbulence strongly increases seed release.  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 273(1587): 751-756.
  • Shea, K., Kelly, D., Sheppard, A. W. and Woodburn, T. L. (2005) Context-dependent biological control of an invasive thistle. Ecology 86: 3174-3181.
  • Shea, K. and Chesson, P. (2002) Community ecology theory as a framework for biological invasions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17(4): 170-176.

Full publication list Please feel free to email me if you would like a copy of any of these papers.

The photograph used in this website's logo was taken by Laura Russo, a former Shea Lab graduate student.

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