Lis Nelis
Lis Castillo Nelis, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Ecological & Biological Sciences
  • Seattle

Dr. Lis Nelis’ primary expertise is in the effects of anthropogenic and natural stressors on ecosystems and native populations. Her work has special relevance to endangered species and other populations at risk from human-caused environmental disturbances including chemical and oil spills. This work includes disturbances to habitat, invasive species, grazing, erosion, and climate change. She is experienced in planning restoration, management, conservation, and monitoring studies. Dr. Nelis has evaluated Natural Resource Damage Assessment claims regarding oil spills and has provided litigation support on a wide range of issues. She also uses her extensive analytical and programming skills to database, analyze, and model large data sets in support of these claims.

Dr. Nelis has 14 years of experience conducting and managing environmental studies in three states and on two different continents. She has provided scientific and strategic consultation to government agencies on management plans for a national park, including support in negotiations between government officials and local residents.

Dr. Nelis’ research expertise includes designing and implementing large-scale, long-term, experiments that explore the fate of stressed ecosystems. In her work she integrates field data with mathematical models to make data-based predictions about ecosystem outcomes. She is skilled in the ecological application of Ricker Models (often used in fishery research), Markov Chain Models, and other matrix models. She programs in Matlab and in R.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, 2008
  • M.S., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, 2004
  • B.S., Evolutionary Biology, Michigan State University, 2000, honors
  • Certified Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America, 2015

    Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies Research Grant, Stanford University, 2012

    SACNAS Leadership Institute Award, 2012

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish

Publications

Nelis LC. Life form and life history explain variation in population processes of a grassland community invaded by exotic plants and mammals. PLoS ONE 2012; 7(8):e42906.

Nelis LC. Grouping plant species by shared native range, and not by native status, predicts response to an exotic herbivore. Oecologia 2012; 169(4):1075–1081.

Nelis LC, Wootton JT. Treatment-based Markov Chain Models clarify mechanisms of invasion in an invaded grassland community. Proceedings B, The Royal Society of London 2010; 277:539–547.

Schmidt KA, Nelis LC, Briggs N, Ostfeld RS. Invasive shrubs and songbird nesting success: Effects of climate variability and predator abundance. Ecological Applications 2005; 15(1):258–265.

Presentations

Nelis LC, Ladau J, Sanders NJ, Fitzgerald K, Heller NE, Appel JS, Gordon DM. The impact of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) on association network structure of native ant species in Northern California. Ecological Society of America, 2012.

Nelis LC. Do population dynamic parameters differ between native and exotic grassland species? Ecological Society of America, 2010.

Nelis LC. A double-blind study with Argentine ant researchers: Do native and exotic plants have fundamentally different roles in the community? Ecological Society of America, 2011.

Nelis LC. Effects of exotic herbivores and disturbance on invasion success: Does shared evolutionary history matter? Ecological Society of America, 2008.

Nelis LC. An investigation of synergistic interactions among invasive species. Ecology and Evolution Departmental Natural History Seminar, University of Chicago, 2008.

Nelis LC, Wootton JT. Using Markov models to examine mechanisms of interaction among multiple invasions on Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile. Ecological Society of America, 2007.

Nelis LC. Effects of invasive rabbits on exotic grassland plants. Ecology and Evolution Departmental Natural History Seminar, University of Chicago, 2007.

Schmidt KA, Nelis LC, Briggs NM, Ostfeld RS. Climatic variability and predator abundance mediate the interaction between an invasive shrub and nesting success in a woodland songbird. Ecological Society of America, 2004.

Professional Affiliations

Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Ecological Society of America

Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science—SACNAS

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, 2008
  • M.S., Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, 2004
  • B.S., Evolutionary Biology, Michigan State University, 2000, honors
  • Certified Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America, 2015

    Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies Research Grant, Stanford University, 2012

    SACNAS Leadership Institute Award, 2012

LANGUAGES

  • Spanish