Colleen Webb Professor - Dean of the Graduate School

Office: Student Services 108

Phone: (970) 491-6723



  • Ph.D., Cornell University


At the most basic level, I study how the interplay between ecological and evolutionary mechanisms affects the dynamics and persistence of ecological systems.  I am particularly intrigued by the effects of anthropogenic change in complex ecological systems and concomitant impacts on human society.  My lab focuses mainly in two areas: disease ecology and trait-based approaches in ecology.  Within disease ecology, we largely focus on ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that impact the persistence of highly virulent diseases including work on rabies, plague, dengue, avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease.  Within trait-based approaches in ecology, we focus on application of a conceptual framework to example systems with the aim of creating a comparative approach to better understand how traits and environmental drivers shape how niche and neutral processes scale up to impact the dynamics of community composition and ecosystem function in grassland, forest, microbial and marine systems.  Our work is driven by the biological question.  However, my group uses a variety of quantitative techniques (e.g. dynamical systems, simulation, Bayesian and frequentist statistics) and has the flexibility to develop data-driven, quantitative approaches customized to the biological problem.