I am an Assistant Professor of Conservation Science in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, and an Associate Fellow at the Institute on the Environment. My research falls at the interface of ecology and economics, addressing climatic, ecological and socioeconomic drivers of ecosystem services and their sustainable management. A main objective of my research is to inform resource and land management strategies for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services that will be robust to climate change and uncertainty.

I combine theoretical and empirical approaches to address various questions at the interface of conservation ecology, global change ecology, community ecology, and natural resource economics. My interests span multiple spatial scales and ecosystem types (e.g., forests, grasslands, coastal and marine ecosystems), and I uses a mix of empirical and mathematical modeling approaches. For example, I am using econometric techniques and bio-economic models to examine impacts and adaptation strategies for fisheries to climate change, variability, and extremes. A major research interest is causal inference in observational ecological and social-ecological data.

My Ph.D. research, at the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, focused on the impacts of temperature variability and biodiversity on global fisheries yields and the extent to which managing for ecosystem services provides an economic incentive for conservation.I completed a concurrent MA in Economics at UCSB, advised by Drs. Christopher Costello and Dick Startz. As a post-doctoral associate at the University of Minnesota, I examined how climate change affects ecosystem services provided by boreal forests and management strategies to reduce those impacts in a project co-advised by Peter Reich and Steve Polasky.

*I am accepting students and recruiting post-docs for 2018* Please contact me if you are interested.


Please email me if you’d like a pdf copy of a publication, or see my Google Scholar profile.

Isbell, F., Cowles, J., Dee, L.E., Loreau, M., Reich, P., Gonzalez, A., Hector, A., Schmid, B. Quantifying effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning across times and places. In Press. Ecology Letters.

Dee, L.E., De Lara, M., Costello, C. & Gaines, S. D. (2017) To what extent can ecosystem services motivate biodiversity protection? Ecology Letters 20: 935-946.  [pdf]  *Received the 2018 Innovations in Sustainability Sciences Award from the Ecological Society of America: more here

Dee, L.E., Thompson, R., Massol, F., Guerrero, A. Bohan, D.A. (2017) Do socio-ecological syndromes predict outcomes for ecosystem services? – a reply to Bodin et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 32(8): 549-552. [pdf]

Dee, L.E., Allesina, S., Bonn, A., Eklöf, A., Gaines, S., Hines, J., Jacob, U., McDonald-Madden, E., Possingham, H., Schröter, M., and Thompson, R. (2017) Operationalizing network theory for ecosystem service assessmentsTrends in Ecology & Evolution 32(2): 118-130. [pdf]

Runting, R., Bryan, B., Dee, L.E., Maseyk, F., Mandle, L., Hamel, P., Wilson, K., Yetka, K., Possingham, H., Rhodes, J. (2017) Incorporating climate change into ecosystem service assessments and decisions: A review. Global Change Biology. 23, 28–41 [pdf]

O’Connor, M., Gonzalez, A., Byrnes, J., Cardinale, B., Duffy, J.E., Gamfeldt, L., Griffin, J., Hooper, D., Hungate, B., Paquette, A., Thompson, P., Dee, L., Dolan, K. (2017) A general biodiversity-function relationship is mediated by trophic level. Oikos 126, 18-31. [pdf]

Dee, L.E, Miller, S.J., Peavey, L.E., Gentry, R., Bradley, D.E., Startz, D., Gaines, S.D., & Lester, S.E. (2016) Functional diversity of catch mitigates negative effects of temperature variability on fisheries yields. Proceedings of the Royal Society B  283, 20161435.  [pdf]  Press Release 

Pau, S. & Dee, L.E. (2016) Remote sensing of species dominance and the value for quantifying ecosystem services. Remote sensing in Ecology & Conservation 2(3), 141-151. [pdf]

Boersma, K.S., Dee, L.E., Miller, S.J., Bogan, M.T., Lytle, D.A., & Gitelman, A.I. (2016) Linking multidimensional functional diversity to quantitative methods: A graphical hypothesis-evaluation framework. Ecology 97(3), 583–593. [pdf]

Dee, L.E. (2015) Managing ecosystem services in the face of uncertainty: what is the role of biodiversity? PhD Dissertation, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Papastamatiou, Y., Watanabe, Y., Bradley, D., Dee, L.E., Weng, K., Lowe, C.& Caselle, J. (2015) Active while cooling: daily routines of an ectothermic marine predator. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0127807. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127807 [pdf]

DeeL.E., Horrii, S.S, D.J. Thornhill. (2014) Conservation and management of the trade in ornamental coral-reef wildlife: successes, shortcomings, and future directions. Biological Conservation 169, 225–237. [pdf]   See the blog summarizing this work & “Press

Balvanera, P., Siddique, I., Dee, L.E., Paquette, A., Isbell, F., Gonzalez, A., Byrnes, J., O’Connor, M.I., Hungate, B., Griffin, J.N. (2014) Linking biodiversity and ecosystem services: current uncertainties and the necessary next step. BioScience 64 (1):49-57. [pdf]

Fujita, R., Thornhill, D. J., Karr, K., Cooper, C. H. & Dee, L. E. (2014), Assessing and managing data-limited ornamental fisheries in coral reefs. Fish and Fisheries, 15: 661–675. [pdf]   Press and overview.

J.E.K. Byrnes, L. Gamfeldt, F. Isbell, J.S. Lefcheck, J.N. Griffin, A. Hector, B.J. Cardinale, D.U. Hooper, L.E. Dee, & J.E. Duffy. (2014) Investigating the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality: Challenges and solutions. Methods in Ecology & Evolution 5, 111–124. [pdf]

Dee, L.E. & Gerber, L. (2012) Applications of Decision Theory to Conservation Planning and Management. Nature Education Knowledge 3(3):11. [read here, open access]

Dee, L.E., Witman, J.D., & M. Brandt. (2012) Refugia and top-down control of the pencil urchin Eucidaris galapagensis in the Galápagos Marine Reserve, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 416-417:135–143. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2012.02.016  [pdf]

Book chapters

Balvanera, P., Quijas, S., Berta Martín-López, S., Barrios, E., Dee, L., Isbell, F., Durance, I., White, P., Blanchard, R., and de Groot, R. (2016):  ‘The links between biodiversity and ecosystem services’ in Potschin, M., Haines-Young, R., Fish, R. and Turner, R.K. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services. Routledge, London and New York.

Other reports 

Witman, J.D, Brandt, M., and Dee, L.E. (2009) Testing trophic cascades in the Galápagos Marine Reserve: an experimental approach. In: M. Wolff and M.Gardener (eds.), Proceedings of the 2009 Galápagos Science Symposium, Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Ecuador.


Funding resources for PhD students: I’ve compiled a list of funding resources and grants for PhD students: see it here.

R, stats, LaTeX, or other time-saving tips 

Dynamic Programming & Markov Decision Process Resources

Econometrics Resources – More coming soon!

Advice on the publishing process