Faculty Directory

Fagan, William

Fagan, William

Professor
Chair, Department of Biology
Biology
The Institute for Systems Research
1200A Bio-Psych; 3235 Bio-Psych

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.

Awards

  • Fellow (Elected), Ecological Society of America, 2013.
  • Fellow (Elected), American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2012.
  • 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.

Education
Ph.D., University of Washington, 1996. Conservation Biology, Community Ecology, Theoretical Ecology.

Dr. Fagan's research involves meshing field biology with theoretical models to address critical questions in community ecology and conservation biology. He believes 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. His 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.


  • Bewick, S., P. Staniczenko, B. Li, D. Karig, and W.F. Fagan. 2017. Invasion speeds in microbial systems with toxin production and quorum sensing. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 420: 290-303.
  • Fagan, W. F., E. Gurarie, S. Bewick, A. Howard, S. Cantrell, and C. Cosner. 2017. Perceptual ranges, information gathering, and foraging success in dynamic landscapes. American Naturalist. 189: 474-489.
  • Zhou, J., and W.F. Fagan. 2017. A discrete time model for populations in habitats with time-varying sizes. Journal of Mathematical Biology. 1-56.
  • Bewick, S., R.S. Cantrell, C. Cosner, and W.F. Fagan. 2016. How resource phenology affects consumer population dynamics. American Naturalist, 187: 151-166.
  • Foss-Grant, A. P., E. F. Zipkin, J.T. Thorson, O. P. Jensen, and W.F. Fagan. 2016. Hierarchical analysis of phylogenetic variation in intraspecific competition across fish species. Ecology, 97:1724-1734.
  • Teitelbaum, C., S. Converse, W.F. Fagan, K. Boehning-Gaese, R. O’Hara, A. Lacey, and T. Mueller. 2016. Experience drives innovation of new migration patterns of whooping cranes in response to global change. Nature Communications. 7:12793 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12793
  • Teitelbaum, C., W.F. Fagan, C.H. Fleming, G. Dressler, J.M. Calabrese, P. Leimgruber, and T. Mueller. 2015. How far to go? Determinants of migration distance of land mammals. Ecology Letters. 18: 545-552. (Cover Article)
  • Fleming, C.H., J.M. Calabrese, T. Mueller, 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.
  • Mueller, T., R. O'Hara, R. Urbanek, S. Converse, and W. F. Fagan. 2013. Social learning and migratory performance. Science. doi/10.1126/science.1237139. (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. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12165
  • Fagan, W.F., Y. Pearson, E. Larsen, J.B. Turner, H.J. Lynch, H.Staver, J. Turner, A. E. Noble, S. Bewick, and E. Goldberg. 2013. Phylogenetic prediction of the maximum per capita rate of population growth. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B. 280: 20130523
  • Lynch, H.J., R. Naveen, P.N. Trathan, W.F. Fagan. 2012. Spatially integrated assessment reveals widespread changes in penguin populations on the Antarctic Peninsula. Ecology 93:1367-1377.

Fagan, Gurarie receive NSF grant for research modeling animal dispersal

The project will draw on a variety of modeling frameworks to build mathematical representations of animal movements in dynamic landscapes.

ISR welcomes five new affiliate faculty

Joining ISR: Ken Wood, Bill Fagan, Daniel Butts, Monifa Vaughn-Cooke, Ilya Ryzhov.

William Fagan and team find whooping cranes stay the course when they follow a wise old bird

Long-lived birds learn their migration route from older cranes, and get better at it with age.

Other professional society fellows

  • Ecological Society of America Fellow, 2013

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

  • Fellow, 2012