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Faculty Experts Guide - Timothy Waring, Ph.D.


Office Address:
Winslow Hall, Room 200

Mailing Address:
School of Economics
5782 Winslow Hall
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5782

Contact Information
Phone: 207/581-3157

Media Expertise:
Agent Based Modeling and Simulation
Sustainability Theory
Human Cooperation Dynamics

Research Interests
Cultural Evolution
Local Food Systems
Organizational Sustainability
Human Culture and Cooperation

SSI Projects

SES Synergy:?Social-Ecological Systems Modeling and Outreach

Effects of Climate Change on Organisms (ECCO)

Lessons from a Diverse Sustainability Science Portfolio

University of California, Davis, Ph.D. (Human Ecology)

Haverford College, B.S. (Biology)

Social Media:

Research GateBlog:

Student Opportunities:
Currently accepting PhD students through the A2C2 IGERT graduate program (


ECO 581: Agent Based Modeling

ECO 381: Sustainable Development Principles and Policies

ECO 590: Mathematical Models of Social Evolution

ECO 381: Sustainable Development Principles and Policies

ECO 581: Socio-Ecological Systems Modeling

Assistant Professor of Social-Ecological Systems Modeling, School of Economics, University of Maine

Cooperating Faculty in Anthropology and the School of Policy and International Affairs

Researcher and Research Council Member, Sustainability Solutions Initiative

Director, Maine Experimental Economics Laboratory (


Dr. Waring is an evolutionary ecologist and faculty member at the University of Maine. His research focuses on empirical and theoretical approaches to the relationships between human culture and cooperation regimes, and between social and environmental sustainability. Waring uses experimental economics, agent based modeling, surveys, and other ethnographic methods to explore cooperative behavior and the economic, institutional, and cultural factors that control it. He studies human cooperation across a broad range of scales and issues from environmental management in India, to micro-society experiments in the laboratory, to survey and social-network research.

Waring’s work with SSI has come to focus on the emergence of local food systems as an opportunity to mesh the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. He is a member of the Maine Food Strategy, a planning group helping to re-envision a vibrant food economy for Maine’s future. He is also working to improve SSI’s theoretical models of socio-ecological systems to help solutions-focused groups better project their goals into future scenarios.

Prior to his work with the University of Maine, Waring served as a Fellow with the National Science Foundation.  He is also a past recipient of a Professor for the Future Fellowship from the University of California Davis. Funding for his work has come in part from Maine EPSCoR and the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, the National Science Foundation, and the UC Davis Biological Invasions IGERT. His research has been published in Ecology and Society, Ecological Economics, and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Selected Publications

T.M. Waring, S. Goff, and P.E. Smaldino, “Evolving the Core Design Principles: The Coevolution of Institutions and Sustainable Practices,” (2013), forthcoming.

T.M. Waring, “Sequential Encoding of Tamil Kolam Patterns,” Forma 27, no. 1 (2012): 83-92.

T.M. Waring, “Cooperation Dynamics in a Multi-Ethnic Society: A Case Study from Tamil Nadu,” Current Anthropology 53, no. 5 (2012): 642-649.

T.M. Waring, “Wicked Tools: The Value of Scientific Models for Solving Maine’s Wicked Problems,” Maine Policy Review 21, no. 1 (2012): 30-39.

T. M. Waring, “Ethnic Forces in Collective Action: Diversity, Dominance, and Irrigation in Tamil Nadu,” Ecology and Society 16, no. 4 (2011).

T. M. Waring and P.J. Richerson, “Towards Unification of the Socio-Ecological Sciences: The Value of Coupled Models,” Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 93, no. 4 (2011).

B. Paciotti, P.J. Richerson, W. Baum, M. Lubell, T.M. Waring, R. McElreath, C. Efferson, et al. “Are Religious Individuals More Altruistic, Trusting, and Cooperative? An Experimental Test of the Effect of Religion on Prosociality,” Research in Economic Anthropology 31 (2011): 267-305. ?

T. M. Waring, “New Evolutionary Foundations: Theoretical Requirements for a Science of Sustainability,” Ecological Economics 69 (2010): 718-730.

Rebecca S. Epanchin-Niell, Matthew B. Hufford, Clare E. Aslan, Jason P. Sexton, Jeffrey D. Port, and Timothy M. Waring, “Controlling Invasive Species in Complex Social Landscapes,” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8 (2010): 210-216.

C. Aslan, M. Hufford, R. Niell, J. Port, J. Sexton, and T. Waring, “Practical Challenges in Private Stewardship of Rangeland Ecosystems: Yellow Starthistle Control in Sierra Nevadan Foothills,” Rangeland Ecology and Management 62, no. 1 (2009): 28-37.

R. McElreath, A.V. Bell, C. Efferson, M. Lubell, P.J. Richerson, and T. Waring, “Beyond Existence and Aiming Outside the Laboratory: Estimating Frequency-Dependent and Payoff-Biased Social Learning Strategies,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 363 (2008): 3515-3528.

C. Efferson, P.J. Richerson, R. McElreath, M. Lubell, E. Edsten, T.M. Waring, B. Paciotti, et al. “Learning, Productivity, Noise: An Experimental Study of Cultural Transmission on the Bolivian Altiplano,” Evolution and Human Behavior 28 (2007): 11-17.

R. Niell, M. Hufford, C. Aslan, J. Port, J. Sexton, and T. Waring, “Yellow Starthistle Management and Reality,” Noxious Times 9, no. 1 (2007).

Niell, R., Hufford, M., Aslan, C., Port, J., Sexton, J., & Waring, T. (2007). Yellow Starthistle Management and Reality. Noxious Times, 9(1).

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