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Allison Shaw

Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Princeton University, 2012


Theory is only as robust as its underlying assumptions, which can include both explicitly-stated and implicitly-presumed ones. In biology, implicit assumptions often sneak into theory based on the particular systems (e.g., ecosystem type, taxonomic group) the theorist is most familiar with. In my work I aim to construct theory that can span taxonomic and ecosystem barriers, often initially motivated by biological examples that do not fit well with assumptions of existing theory.

My main research area is long-distance movement and in particular I am interested in the following topics:
(1) Ultimate drivers of long-distance movement and their taxonomic and geographic variation
(2) How these drivers might influence the adaptation of movement strategies in response to changing conditions
(3) The impact of movement on population structure, dynamics, and viability
(4) The interaction between movement and other life-history strategies (e.g. hibernation)
(5) The interaction between movement and the acquisition and transmission of parasites and pathogens

In my work I use primarily theoretical approaches (a combination of analytic models, and numerical and individual based simulations), although always driven by the goal of gaining a deeper insight into the underlying biology.

Selected Publications

Reluga TC, Shaw AK (in press) "Resource distribution drives the adoption of migratory, partially migratory, or residential strategies." Theoretical Ecology.

Shaw AK, Kokko H (2015) "Dispersal evolution in the presence of Allee effects can speed up orslow down invasions." American Naturalist 185(5):631-639.

Reluga TC, Shaw AK (2014) "Optimal migratory behavior in spatially-explicit seasonal environments." Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - Series B 19:3359-3378.

Shaw AK, Kokko H (2014) “Mate-finding, Allee effects, and selection for sex-biased dispersal.” Journal of Animal Ecology 83(6):1256–1267

Shaw AK, Jalasvuori M, Kokko H (2014) "Population-level consequences of risky dispersal." Oikos 123:1003–1013.

Shaw AK, Couzin ID (2013) "Migration or residency? The evolution of movement behavior and information usage in seasonal environments." American Naturalist 181:114-124.

Shaw AK, Stanton DE (2012) "Leaks in the pipeline: separating structural inertia from ongoing gender differences in academia." Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 279:3736-3741.

Shaw AK, Levin SA (2011) "To breed or not to breed: a model of partial migration." Oikos 120:1871-1879.

Miller TEX, Shaw AK, Inouye BD, Neubert MG (2011) "Sex-biased dispersal and the speed of two-sex invasions." American Naturalist 177:549-561.

Additional Links

Shaw Lab Homepage


412 Ecology
1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108