Photo of Ale, Som

Som Ale, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences


Building & Room:

3358 SES


845 W. Taylor St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-4578


CV Download:

SomAle CV


The web of life is composed of two distinct threads – one that links organisms at any given moment in time through the flow of energy (ecology), and another that connects all biota through deep time via genetic information and shared common ancestry (evolution).  Ecology and evolution, in a single theme, provide a robust scientific platform for understanding biodiversity and appreciating the big story of life.  Why are there so many species?  What are the factors influencing species distribution and abundance?  Where do we belong in this bewildering design?

I ponder and am interested to answer some of the big questions in ecology and evolution, while teaching ecology from an evolutionary perspective.

If we wish to examine the effect of predation on snails, seeds and beetles, we would soon discover that individuals exposed to heavy predation have harder exteriors than those not exposed to predation.  Why are the exteriors hard and thick for some and soft and thin for others?  The first answer is the presence and absence of predation coupled with a long course of natural selection.  The question cannot be answered by examining the materials that make up the exteriors.  The point is that while studying organisms, populations and communities and the patterns they reveal, we also need to understand the processes that produce them.

I address, in my teaching and research, both patterns and processes.  I use the techniques of mud-and-boots field biology vis-à-vis the theory of foraging to understand the patterns and processes responsible to structure and shape populations and communities.

Selected Publications

(Complete list of publications on Google Scholar)

  1. Ale, S. B., Sathyakumar, S., Forsyth, D. M., Lingyun, X. & Bhatnagar, Y. V. 2020. Hemitragus jemlahicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020:
  2. Ale, S. B., Halloway, A., Mitchell, W. A. and Whelan, C. J.  2019.  Does God roll dice? Neutrality and determinism in evolutionary ecology.  Biology and Philosophy 34 (1):3 (2019). DOI: 10.1007/s10539-018-9657-8
  3. Ale, S. B. and Mishra C. 2018.  The snow leopard’s questionable comeback. Science 359:1110.
  4. Schutgens, M. G., Hanson, J. H., Baral, N., and Som B. Ale. 2018.  Visitors’ willingness to pay for snow leopard Panthera uncia conservation in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. Oryx page 1 to 10.
  5. Baral, N., Kaul, S. Heinen, J. T. Ale, S.B. 2017.  Estimating the value of the World Heritage Site designation: a case study from Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park, Nepal.  Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Taylor & Francis publication, DOI:
  6. Aryal, A., Shrestha, U.B., Ji, W., Ale, S.B. et al. 2016.  Predicting the distributions of predator (snow leopard) and prey (blue sheep) under climate change in the Himalaya.  Ecology and Evolution 6:  4065-4075.
  7. Ale, S. B., Shah, K. B., and Jackson, R. 2016.  Conservation of Snow Leopard in Nepal. In: Nyhuis, P.J., McCarthy, T., and Mallon, D. (Eds.): Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes. 1st Edition. Snow Leopards. Elsevier Press, 2016, p. 471-479.
  8. Hillard, D., Weddle, M., Padmanabhan, S., Ale, S.B. et al. 2016.  Envornmental education for snow leopard conservation.  In: Nyhuis, P.J., McCarthy, T., and Mallon, D. (Eds.): Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes. 1st Edition. Snow Leopards. Elsevier Press, 2016, p. 245-255.
  9. Ale, S. B.  Shrestha, B. and Jackson, R. 2014.  On the status of Snow Leopard Panthera uncia (Schreber, 1775) in Annapurna, Nepal.  Journal of Threatened Taxa 6: 5534–5543.  DOI:10.11609/JoTT.o3635.5534-43
  10. Dupuch, A., Morris, D. W., Ale, S. B., Wilson, D. J., and  Moore, D. E. 2014.  Landscapes of fear or competition? Predation did not alter habitat choice by Arctic rodents.  Oecologia 174: 403-412.
  11. Ale, S. B., Brown J. S. and Sullivan, A.  2013.  Evolution of cooperation: Combining kin selection and reciprocal altruism into matrix games with social dilemmas.  PLoS ONE 8(5): e63761.  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063761.
  12. Ale, S. B., Morris, D. W., Dupuch, A, and Moore, D. E.  2011.  Habitat selection and the scale of ghostly coexistence among Arctic rodents. 2011.  Oikos 120: 1191-1200.
  13. Morris, D. W., Moore, D. E., Ale, S. B. and Dupuch, A.  2011.  Forecasting Ecological and Evolutionary Strategies to Global Change: An Example from Habitat Selection by Lemmings.  Global Change Biology 17: 1266–1276.
  14. Ale, S. B. and Howe, H. F.  2010.  What do ecological paradigms offer to conservation? International Journal of Ecology.  Volume 2010, Article ID 250754, 9 pages — doi:10.1155/2010/250754.
  15. Ale, S. B. and Brown, J. S.  2009.  Prey behavior leads to predator:  a case study of the Himalayan tahr and the snow leopard in Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park, Nepal.   Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 55: 315-327.
  16. Lovari, S., Boesi, R., Minder, I., Mucci, M., Randi, E., Dematteis, A., and Ale, S. B.  2009.  Restoring a keystone predator may endanger a prey species in a human-altered ecosystem: the return of the snow leopard to Sagarmatha National Park. Animal Conservation 12: 559-570.
  17. Wolf, M. and Ale, S. B.  2009.  Signs at the top: Habitat and snow leopard activity in Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal.  Journal of Mammalogy 90: 604-611.
  18. Morris, D., Kotler, B., Brown, J. S., Sundararaj, V. and Ale, S. B.  2009.  Behavioral Indicators for Conserving Mammal Diversity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1162: 334-356.
  19. Ale, S. B. and Whelan, C. J.  2008.  Reappraisal of the role of big, fierce predators! Biodiversity and Conservation 17: 685-690.
  20. Ale, S. B., Yonzon, P. and Thapa, K.  2007.  Recovery of snow leopard Uncia uncia in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park, Nepal. Oryx 41: 89-92.
  21. Ale, S. B. and Brown, J. S. 2007.  The Contingencies of Group Size and Vigilance. Evolutionary Ecology Research 9: 1263-1276.
  22. Lovari, S. and Ale, S. B.  2001.  Are there multiple reproductive strategies in blue sheep? Behavioural Processes 53: 131-135.


PhD, University of Illinois - Chicago

MSc, University of Tromso, Norway