Kate Wootton

I am an interdisciplinary ecologist interested in how different parts of an ecosystem --- species, environment, and/or humans --- work together to produce the ecosystem we observe, and how we might influence that ecosystem. I integrate empirical and computational approaches to study the mechanisms that drive the structure and dynamics of complex ecological networks, and what that may mean for the future.

Currently, I am working with multiple communities across Aotearoa New Zealand to understand cultural-ecological networks within the context of biocultural regeneration. I'm based in the Tylianakis Lab at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. It's nice to be home! Previously, I worked on defining the functional roles of ecologists within the academic ecosystem with Aaron Clauset and Daniel Larremore at the University of Colorado, Boulder. My PhD focused on using species' traits (such as body size or foraging mode) to understand and predict the structure and dynamics of ecological networks, with Tomas Roslin, Riccardo Bommarco, Tomas Jonsson, and Alva Curtsdotter at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Collecting willow galls in Norway



Wootton, K.L. & Lyver, P.O'B. (2024). Ecology: The fruits of local knowledge. Current Biology 34(7):R273-R275 doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2024.02.054.

Cirtwill, A.*, Åkesson, A.*, Wootton, K.L., & Eklöf, A. (2024). Species motif participation provides unique information about species risk of extinction. Journal of Animal Ecology 00, 1–12. doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.14081

Wootton, K.L., Blanchet, F.G., Liston, A., Nyman, T., Riggi, L., Kopelke, J.-P., Roslin, T., & Gravel, D. (2024). Layer-specific imprints of traits within a plant-herbivore-predator network - complementary insights from complementary methods. Ecography 2024:e07028. doi.org/10.1111/ecog.07028

Martins, L.P., Garcia-Callejas, D., Lai, H.R., Wootton, K.L. & Tylianakis, J.M. (2024) The propagation of disturbances in ecological networks. Trends in Ecology and Evolution In press

Wootton, K.L., Curtsdotter, A., Jonsson T., Bommarco, R., Roslin, T (2023) Food webs coupled in space: Consumer foraging movement affects both stocks and fluxes. Ecology 104(8):e4101 doi: 10.1002/ecy.4101

Wootton, K.L., Curtsdotter, A., Roslin, T., Bommarco, R.B., & Jonsson, T. (2023). Towards a modular theory of trophic interactions Functional Ecology 37: 26-43 doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13954

Valdovinos, F.S., Hale, K.R.S., Dritz, S., Glaum, P., McCann, K.S., Simon, S.M., Thébault, E., Wetzel, W.C., Wootton, K.L. and Yeakel, J.D. (2023) A bioenergetic framework for aboveground terrestrial food webs. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 38(3): 301-312 doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2022.11.004

Cirtwill, A.R., and Wootton, K.L. (2022) Stable motifs delay species loss in simulated food webs. Oikos 2022: e09436. doi: 10.1111/oik.09436

Wootton, K.L., Curtsdotter, A., Jonsson T., Banks, H.T., Bommarco, R., Roslin, T, & Laubmeier A. N. (2022) Beyond body size — new traits for new heights in trait-based modelling of predator-prey dynamics PLOS ONE 17(7): e0251896 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0251896

Shaw, J., Coco, E., Wootton, K.L., Daems, D., Gillreath-Brown, A., Swain, A., & Dunne, J. (2021). Disentangling ecological and taphonomic signals in ancient food webs. Paleobiology 47(3): 385-481. doi.org/10.1017/pab.2020.59

Cagua, E.F., Wootton, K.L., Stouffer, D.B. (2019) Keystoneness, centrality, and the structural controllability of ecological networks. Journal of Ecology 107: 1779-1790. doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13147

Cirtwill, A.R., Eklöf, A, Roslin, T, Wootton, K.L., Gravel, D. (2019) A quantitative framework for investigating the reliability of empirical network construction. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10: 902-911. doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13180

Laubmeier A.N.*, Wootton K.L.*, Banks J.E., Bommarco R., Curtsdotter A., Jonsson T., et al. (2018) From theory to experimental design-Quantifying a trait-based theory of predator-prey dynamics. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0195919. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195919

Wootton, K.L. (2017) Omnivory and stability in freshwater habitats: Does theory match reality? Freshwater Biology 2017; 62: 821-832. doi.org/10.1111/fwb.12908

Wootton, K. L., and Stouffer, D. B.. (2016). Species' traits and food-web complexity interactively affect a food web's response to press disturbance. Ecosphere 7( 11): e01518. doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.1518

Wootton, K.L., Stouffer, D.B. (2016) Many weak interactions and few strong; food-web feasibility depends on the combination of the strength of species' interactions and their correct arrangement. Theoretical Ecology 9, 185-195. doi.org/10.1007/s12080-015-0279-3

* These authors contributed equally


Watch a presentation about the paper Towards a modular theory of trophic interactions here.

Wootton, K.L., Curtsdotter, A., Roslin, T., Bommarco, R.B., & Jonsson, T. (2023). Towards a modular theory of trophic interactions Functional Ecology 37: 26-43 doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13954