My research involves meshing field biology with theoretical models to address critical questions in community ecology and conservation biology. I believe that ecological theory will be strengthened if it is forced to help solve real-world problems, and that conservation biology involves difficult choices that demand quantitative approaches. My ongoing research falls in several areas that illustrate this melding of theory and problem-solving, including 1) spatial ecological dynamics, 2) ecoinformatics, biodiversity databases, and conservation planning, and 3) biological stoichiometry and paleoecostoichioproteomics.
Honors and Awards
University of Maryland Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, 2010.
University of Maryland College of Chemical and Life Sciences Research Award, 2009.
Presidential Award, The American Society of Naturalists, for best paper in American Naturalist in 2005 for: Fagan, W.F., M.A. Lewis, M. Neubert, C. Aumann, J. Apple, and J.G. Bishop. 2005. When can herbivores reverse the spread of an invading plant? A test case from Mount St. Helens. American Naturalist. 166: 669-686.
Guggenheim Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 2001-2002.
• Bewick, S., R.S. Cantrell, C. Cosner, and W.F. Fagan. 2016. How resource phenology alters consumer population dynamics. American Naturalist, 187: 151-166.
• Fleming, C.H., J.M. Calabrese, T. Mueller3, K.A. Olson, P. Leimgruber, and W.F. Fagan. 2014. From fine-scale foraging to home ranges: A semi-variance approach to identifying movement modes across spatiotemporal scales. American Naturalist. E154-E167.
• Lynch, H.J., M. Rhainds, J. M. Calabrese, S. Cantrell, C. Cosner, and W.F. Fagan. 2014. How climate extremes—not means—define a species’ geographic range boundary via a demographic tipping point. Ecological Monographs. 84:134-149.
• Mueller, T., R. O’Hara, R. Urbanek, S. Converse, and W.F. Fagan. 2013. Social learning of migratory performance. Science. 341: 999-1002. (Cover Article)
• Fagan, W.F., M.A. Lewis, M. Auger-Méthé, T. Avgar, S. Benhamou, G. Breed, L. LaDage, U. Schlägel, W. Tang, Y. Papastamatiou, J. Forester, and T. Mueller. 2013. Spatial memory and animal movement. Ecology Letters. 16: 1316-1329.
• Fagan, W.F., R.S. Cantrell, C. Cosner, and S. Ramakrishnan. 2009. Interspecific variation in critical patch size and gap-crossing ability as determinants of geographic range size distributions. American Naturalist 173: 363-375.
• Muneepeerakul, R., E. Bertuzzo, H.J. Lynch, W.F. Fagan, A. Rinaldo and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe. 2008. Neutral metacommunity models predict fish diversity patterns in Mississippi-Missouri basin. Nature 453: 220-222.
• Fagan, W.F.,R.S. Cantrell, and C. Cosner. 1999. How habitat edges change species interactions. American Naturalist. 153: 165-182.
Selected Current Funding
• Department of Defense SERDP. (2016-2019). The role of phenology and phenology change in the transmission of arthropod-borne diseases: Implications for management on military lands
• NSF Advances in Biological Informatics (Innovation). (2015-2018). “Advanced mathematical, statistical, and software tools to unlock the potential of animal tracking data.”
• Department of Defense MURI. (2014-2019) “Understanding the skin microbiome through the integration of metagenomics, bioinformatics, spatial ecology and synthetic biology.”
• NSF LTREB Renewal (Long-term Research in Environmental Biology). (2013-2018) “Collaborative Research: Impacts of insect herbivory on the pace and pattern of successional change at Mount St. Helens.”
• NSF Mathematical Biology. (2012-2016) Collaborative Research: Spatial spread of stage-structured populations.
My lab group is actively seeking collaborators who are interested in working together on applications in several areas:
1) Dynamical systems and control theory (Computational and analytical projects involving dynamics of vector-borne diseases & the spatial spread of invasive species)
2) Non-Markovian stochastic processes and stochastic differential equations (Development and application of SDE approaches as representations of animal movements)
3) Diverse mathematical approaches (Development of mathematical models for various biological processes such as spatial memory, perception, communication, and leadership)