Abigail Keller

  • Program Year: 1
  • Academic Institution: University of California, Berkeley
  • Field of Study: Ecology
  • Academic Advisor: Carl Boettiger
  • Practicum(s): Practicum Not Yet Completed
  • Degree(s):
    M.S. Marine Affairs, University of Washington, 2021; B.S. Biology, Haverford College, 2017

Summary of Research

Managing the environment is plagued by uncertainty; we can make only imperfect observations of its state, our actions have uncertain outcomes, and factors like climate change will change the environment in unknown ways. My research focuses on using advances in computational science to improve environmental management decisions made under uncertainty. I develop Bayesian state-space models to make inferences about the dynamics of animal populations using imperfect observational data. I also use advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning to bring more ecological realism into decision theoretic models, like Markov decision processes, that allow for high dimensional state and action spaces, as well as uncertain future change. I also value producing environmental management-relevant information, so an aspect of my research focuses on developing societally-relevant and equity-minded objective functions, as well as improving interpretation and communication of the results of decision theoretic models to decision-makers.


Betters, M., Stabbins, A., Keller, A.G., Cordes, E.E. (2023) Biogeography and depth partitioning in deep‐sea gastropods at the Pacific Costa Rica Margin. Journal of Biogeography. 50(12), 2109-2121. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14722

Montealegre-Mora, F., Chapman, M., Keller, A.G., Lapeyolerie, M., Boettiger, C. (2023). Pretty darn good control: when are approximate solutions better than approximate models? Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. 85, 95. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11538-023-01198-5

Keller, A.G., Dahlhoff, E.P., Bracewell, R., Chatla, K., Bachtrog, D., Rank, N.E., Williams, CM. (2023). Multi-locus genomic signatures of local adaptation to snow across the landscape in California populations of the willow leaf beetle. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 290(2005). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2023.0630

Keller, A.G., Grason, E. McDonald, P.S., Ramon-Laca, A., Kelly, R.P. (2022). Tracking an invasion front with environmental DNA. Ecological Applications. e2561. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2561

Jacobs-Palmer, E., Gallego, R., Cribari, K., Keller A.G., Kelly, R.P. (2021). Environmental DNA Metabarcoding for Simultaneous Monitoring and Ecological Assessment of Many Harmful Algal Bloom Taxa. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9: 612107. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.612107

Keller, A.G., Apprill, A., Lebaron, P., Robbins, J., Romano, T., Overton, E., Yuan, R., Rong, Y., Pollara, S., Whalen, K. (2021). Characterizing the culturable surface microbiomes of diverse marine animals. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 97, fiab040. https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiab040

Goffredi, S.K., Tilic, E., Mullin, S.W., Dawson, K.S., Keller, A.G., Lee, R.W., Wu, F., Levin, L.A., Rouse, G., Cordes, E.E., Orphan, V.J. (2020). Methanotrophic bacterial symbionts fuel dense populations of deep-sea feather duster worms (Sabellida, Annelida) and extend the spatial influence of methane seepage. Science Advances. 6: eaay8562. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aay8562

Auscavitch, S.R., Deere, M.C., Keller, A.G., Rotjan, R.D., Shank, T.M., Cordes, E.E. (2020). Oceanographic Drivers of Deep-Sea Coral Species Distribution and Community Assembly on Seamounts, Islands, Atolls, and Reefs Within the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Frontiers in Marine Science. 7:42. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00042


McKernan Award for Most Outstanding Master's Thesis, University of Washington, 2021
Irving Finger Prize in Biology, Haverford College, 2017
NCAA Centennial Athletic Conference Academic Honor Roll, Haverford College, 2014-2016