The Abella Applied Ecology Lab

The Abella lab conducts restoration ecology and applied conservation science research informing conservation and management, often in direct collaboration with resource managers and other scientists. Our key areas of expertise include plant, forest, desert, fire, and restoration ecology. We have the goals of understanding factors that affect the recovery of ecosystems after human caused disturbances, using this information to design and test restoration techniques, and informing conservation and management.

We work in numerous North American ecosystems in addition to deserts of Kuwait. In the U.S., we have conducted extensive research in eastern forests, Midwestern oak savannas and prairies, western frequent-fire and mixed-conifer forests, and all three warm deserts.  We also regularly publish syntheses that integrate research across biomes. We currently have ongoing projects in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Texas, Oregon, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Restoration ecology is the science behind repairing ecosystems that are damaged or destroyed. This does not mean exactly replicating some type of past or current “undisturbed” ecosystem, which is rarely even possible. Rather, restoration seeks to favorably change sites so an ecosystem can support native species and recover functions like providing wildlife habitat. Similarly, applied conservation science provides a foundation for sustaining native ecological diversity and desired natural resources.

To accomplish overall objectives in restoration ecology and conservation, we work with many different stakeholders. We have had projects funded by county governments, states, non-profits, private corporations, and six federal agencies, including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Forest Service, and interagency Joint Fire Science Program.

We mainly work with plants and soils as key habitat features. While we often link our habitat research to animals, we are generally not equipped to work on animals directly. Working directly with animals requires permitting, certifications, and techniques completely different from working with plants.  We welcome collaborations with wildlife research groups, where we perform high-quality habitat research while wildlife research groups measure animal dynamics.


We welcome opportunities to discuss possibilities for new projects and collaborations

The Abella lab is within the School of Life Sciences (SoLS), College of Sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


We are located in the Science and Engineering Building (SEB) in the north central part of the main campus 

SEB provides state-of-the-art Equipment and Facilities that creates a world-class enviroment for interdisciplinary research and education.


UNLV main campus, location of SEB