Paula Mabee

Chief Scientist Observatory Director


Observatory Leadership

Contact Info



1685 38th st
Ste 100
Boulder, CO 80301
United States

About Paula

Paula Mabee became the Chief Scientist and Observatory Director for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) in early 2020. She was most recently a Nolop Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of South Dakota, serving in that capacity since 1997. She joined the National Science Foundation in 2015, serving until 2017 as Division Director for the Division of Environmental Biology in the Directorate of Biological Sciences. Prior to 1997, she held assistant and associate professorships at San Diego State University. Mabee holds a BA in biology and a BA in religion from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, a Ph.D. in Zoology from Duke University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in the Division of Fishes and an NSF postdoc in developmental biology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. During her career, Mabee has authored more than 60 research publications, received 12 NSF and NIH research grant awards totaling close to $7 million, and held numerous editorial and advisory board positions. She was named an AAAS Fellow in 2004 for her fundamental studies in evolutionary and developmental biology. At the University of South Dakota, she received the President’s Award for Research Excellence, the President’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Cutler award for teaching excellence. Nationally she has served as the president of the Society of Systematic Biologists, and on the Board of Governors for the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

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Affiliation / Org:

National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)