Karen Thorne, Ph.D.


Dr. Karen Thorne is a Principal Investigator with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center, where her research focus is in climate change impacts to ecosystems. In particular, her work has included assessing sea-level rise and storms impacts to nearshore ecosystems, wetland ecology and wildife. She received her Ph.D. and MS from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Thorne's interests lie in conservation issues surrounding climate-related research that assess changes to ecosystems and wildlife.  Her current focus is assessing how sea-level rise and storms impact salt marsh ecosystems and local wildlife populations. In particular, Dr. Thorne is interested in how wildlife respond to high water events and how this relates to predation and breeding success.  Her research is based on field data collection methods that can be developed into climate change impact models using ArcGIS and other remote sensing tools.  

  • Global Change Biology
  • Coastal Ecosystems
  • Wetland Ecology
  • Threatened & Endangered Species
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Ecological Response Modeling
  • Storm Monitoring
  • Sea-level Rise Planning & Decision Support



• PhD, Geography, Global Change, University of California, Davis, 2012
• MSc, Geography, Environmental Studies, University of California, Davis, 2008
• BS, Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis 2000



• California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Science Team



• Biologist, USGS, Western Ecological Research Center, San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station, 2005 to present
• Research Associate, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Fairbanks, AK, 2002 to 2005