Kathy Cottingham

Dartmouth Professor in the Arts & Sciences

Kathy’s broad interests in ecology and its applications to environmental and human health have led to a diverse array of projects over the past 25 Kathy Cottingham, Professor of Biological Sciencesyears – see her Google Scholar profile for a complete list of publications.

Kathy did her undergraduate work at Drew University, where she majored in mathematics, biology, lacrosse and field hockey (not necessarily in that order!).  As a graduate student at the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, she studied the effects of nutrient enrichment and food web structure on freshwater plankton communities using a combination of simulation modeling, in situ mesocosms, and whole-lake experiments.  After graduation, Kathy joined the first cohort of postdoctoral researchers at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, where she conducted independent research on early warning indicators and participated in the “Intrinsic and extrinsic variability in community dynamics” and “Analysis of relationships between productivity and diversity“ working groups.  She joined the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth in 1998 and began teaching courses in ecology and biostatistics while continuing to conduct research on freshwater plankton.

While at Dartmouth, Kathy’s research program expanded to include projects in environmental microbiology, epidemiology, and public environmental health.  Her current research projects include investigating the causes and consequences of cyanobacterial blooms in low nutrient lakes using a variety of tools and approaches.  Nascent projects include collaborations with her students to evaluate how scientific content is presented in the media.


WDYDWYD: Why do you do what you do?
Part of the OpEd Project Public Voices training program

Kathy is also engaged in science outreach:  she serves as Vice-Chair of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association Science Advisory Committee and on the Science Advisory Board for the Jefferson Project at Lake George; participates in science pubs and webinars; and was an OpEd Project Public Voices Fellow in 2013-14.

From 2015-2017, Kathy served as the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth, stepping aside after a planned two year term.

From 2017-2019, Kathy was a rotating program officer in the Population and Community Ecology (PCE) cluster in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). While at NSF, she mastered the art of speaking in acronyms and contributed to the Understanding the Rules of Life and Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems (CNH2) programs. She highly recommends the rotator experience and welcomes questions from potential rotators.

In January 2020, Kathy became the Editor-in-Chief at the Ecological Society of America Ecology. Ideas and suggestions are welcome!

Dartmouth contact info:

Departmental of Biological Sciences, 78 College St., Hanover, NH  03755

Office:  Life Sciences Center, room 124

Phone: 603-646-0216

Email: Kathryn dot L dot Cottingham at dartmouth dot edu