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Abigail Lawson, PhD

Assistant Unit Leader - New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Her research background includes Bayesian hierarchical modeling, demographic parameter estimation, movement ecology, structured decision making, and monitoring program optimization. Her work focuses on developing tools to reduce uncertainty in the estimation of abundance or demographic parameters, particularly for wildlife species that are difficult to monitor, and how uncertainties influence management, conservation, and monitoring decisions. She is currently developing an adaptive management framework to inform conservation efforts for the recovery of eastern Black Rail populations on the Atlantic Coast.


  • Ph.D. Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, Clemson University. Clemson, SC. 2019. Dissertation: Reducing uncertainties in conservation decision-making for American alligators.
  • M.S. Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno. Reno, NV. 2012. Thesis: Life history patterns and population dynamics of Common Goldeneyes in the
    northern boreal forest.
  • B.S. Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis. Davis, CA. 2007.


Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Research Ecologist, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD. December 2019–present
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL. March–December 2019 
  • Ph.D. Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant, Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University, Clemson, SC. January 2013 – February 2019.
  • M.S. Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV. January 2010 – September 2012.


  • The Wildlife Society, Biometrics Working Group