Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Karen Wilson

Associate Research Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Karen  Wilson


309 Bailey (Office & Lab)

Contact Information

Phone: (207)-780-5395

Ph.D., Limnology/Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Karen Wilson is an assistant research faculty with the Department of Environmental Science and a scientist in the Aquatic Systems Research Group at USM. She teaches ESP 341 Limnology and ESP 412 Field Ecosystems Ecology in alternate fall semesters, and ESP 303 Wetlands Ecology and ESP 360 Water Quality in alternate spring semesters.  She also teaches ESP 101 Introduction to Environmental Science and ESP 475 Senior Seminar. Please check out Visiting Maine Wetlands, an on-going project of the Wetlands Ecology course, and Constraints on River Restoration, a project from the 2011 Senior Seminar students.

Karen has a Ph.D. in Limnology/Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied the long-term impacts of an invasive crayfish on lake communities. Since receiving her degree, Karen has taught at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Toronto, Ontario.

She is currently the Research Coordinator and PI for the Diadromous Species Restoration Research Network (DSRRN), a research coordination network funded by NSF. She is also a PI on an interdiscipinary Sustainability Solutions Initiatives project investigating economic and ecological connections between Maine rivers, estuaries and coasts in the Kennebec-Androscoggin River System that uses anadromous river herring as a common currency between these habitats and systems.

Research Interests

Systems thinking

Freshwater-marine linkages and anadromous alewife

Saltmarsh restoration and impacts on marsh-marine linkages

Freshwater crayfish in Maine

Diadromous Species Research Restoration Network (DSRRN)

Recent Publications

Nilsson, E., Solomon, C.T., Wilson, K.A., Willis, T.V., Larget, B. and Vander Zanden, M.J. 2012. Effects of an invasive crayfish on benthic invertebrate abundance and on benthivory and trophic position of fish. Freshwater Biology. 57(1): 10-23.

C.H. Orr, E.H. Stanley, K.A. Wilson, and J.C. Finlay. 2007. Effects of restoration and reflooding on soil denitrification in a leveed midwestern floodplain. Ecological Applications. 17(8): 2365-2376.

Wilson, K.A., E. Todd Howell and Donald A. Jackson. 2006. Replacement of zebra mussels by quagga mussels in the Canadian nearshore of Lake Ontario: distribution and correlations with substrate, round goby abundance and upwelling frequency. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 32(1):11-28.

Wilson, K.A., Hrabik, T.R., and J.J. Magnuson. 2006. Ecological change and exotic invaders: long-term external drivers of lake ecology in Magnuson, J.J., Kratz, T.M. and B. Benson, eds. Long-Term Dynamics of Lakes in the Landscape. Oxford University Press.

Hrabik, T.R., Greenfield, B.K., Lewis, D.B., Pollard, A.I., Wilson, K.A. and T.K. Kratz. 2005. Species diversity in four groups of aquatic organisms in north temperate lakes: physical, chemical and biological properties as sources of variability.Ecosystems. 8 (3): 301-317.

Wilson, K.A., Magnuson, J.J., Lodge, D.M., Hill, A.M., Kratz., Perry, W.L. and T.V. Willis. 2004. Long-term effects of a rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) invasion: dispersal patterns and community changes in a North Temperate lake. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 61(11): 2255-2266.

Vander Zanden, M.J., Wilson, K.A., Casselman, J.M., and Yan, N.D. 2004. Chapter 13: Species introductions and their impacts in North American Shield lakes. Pages 239-264 in Gunn, J.M., Steedman, R.J., and Ryder, R.A., editors. Boreal shield watersheds: lake trout ecosystems in a changing environment. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 

Byron, C.J. and K.A. Wilson. 2001. Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) movement within and between habitats in Trout Lake, Vilas County, Wisconsin. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. 20(4):606-614. 

Puth, L. and K.A. Wilson. 2001. Boundaries and corridors: a review of streams and their role in the landscape. Conservation Biology. 15(1):21-30.

Carpenter, S.R., Oldson, M., Cunningham, P., Gafny, Herwig, B., S., Nibbelink, N., Pellett, T., Storlie, C., Trebitz, A., Wilson K. 1998. Managing macrophytes to increase fish growth: a multi-lake experiment. Fisheries. 23(2):6-12.