University of Texas at Austin

Annette Ostling

Core Faculty

Associate Professor Integrative Biology


Annette Ostling studied physics (A.B. Columbia 1994, M.S. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1999) and worked as a programmer for Bloomberg before switching into ecology, and then earned a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources at UC Berkeley, advised by John Harte, and carried out postdoctoral research as a Princeton University Council on Science and Technology Fellow. She was on the faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan 2006-2020, and served as Associate Director of the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering 2016-2020. She joined the Department of Integrative Biology and The Oden Institute at the University of Texas at Austin in 2021.

Biodiversity in nature can be puzzlingly high in the light of competition between species, which arguably should eventually result in a single winner. The coexistence mechanisms that allow for this biodiversity shape the dynamics of communities and ecosystems. The Ostling Lab's research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of competitive coexistence, how competition influences community structure and diversity, and what insights observed patterns of community structure might provide about competitive coexistence. Theory development and mathematical and computational modeling dominate in the approaches in the Ostling Lab, but we have a particular interest in tightening linkages between theoretical and empirical work, and increasingly the lab is carrying out data analyses as well. A good portion of our work is broadly applicable, but we are also especially interested in the coexistence of tree species in forests.