Prof. Karen Esler

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Field of research

Karen simultaneously navigates disciplinary depths in ecology to work across disciplines, allowing her to contribute to inter-disciplinary and applied spaces.  An overall goal of her research is to understand how drivers of change (e.g. over-exploitation, habitat fragmentation and alien invasion) influence population and community structure and processes in Mediterranean-type ecosystems, arid ecosystems and riparian vegetation.  The applied aspect of this work has been to develop and translate best-practice advice for management, restoration and conservation.


Karen is head of the Department of Conservation Ecology & Entomology at Stellenbosch University (since 2015). She has been a core team member of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology since its inception (2004), and currently serves as African Associate Editor for the journal ‘Conservation Biology’.