Ecology and Evolution
of Wildlife Diseases

Paw print.
Wolf 926F in Yellowstone
Photo: Jort Vanderveen
Ambassador wolves for wolf conservation
Seacrest Wolf Preserve
Wolf watching in Yellowstone

Canine Distemper in Yellowstone

This is a phylogenetic study of a multi-host pathogen, called canine distemper virus. It has caused several outbreaks in the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park since the wolf reintroduction in 1995 and 1996. This study investigates whether the viral strains that caused the different canine distemper outbreaks in Yellowstone are closely related or not, suggesting either endemic persistence of canine sitemper virus in Yellowstone, or new introductions of the virus from elsewhere. Canine distemper has spilled over across many different species (not humans, yet). Because of its high mortality and rapid transmission it poses a major threat to wild carnivores such as wolves, bears, and foxes (and also endangered species such as tigers and snow leopards).

Canine Distemper in Alaska

This is a cross-species phylodynamic study of canine distemper virus in the Alaskan ecosystem. This study investigates the relatedness of different canine distemper virus strains across different carnivore species (grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, and wolverines) and mesocarnivore species (Arctic foxes, red foxes, river otters) to predict potential transmission pathways and reservoir host species.

Parasite-Sharing Across Taxa

This is a project that determines when ecological factors (i.e., geography, host behavior, host life history, etc.) become more important for predicting parasite sharing between various host species than their phylogenetic relatedness (evolutionary factor). This is useful for predicting the most likely source of new emerging diseases threatening human health and the survival of endangered species.

Ecological Drivers of Dengue

This study uses an empirical dynamic modeling (EDM) approach to detect causality between environmental factors and dengue incidence in the Americas. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease and the environment may affect mosquito survival, abundance, and thus disease transmission. EDM demonstrates that climate (i.e., temperature and rainfall) and population dynamics (i.e., density of susceptible individuals) drive dengue incidence. This information can be used to build models to forecast dengue epidemics based on environmental conditions to optimize mosquito vector control and minimize the size of the epidemics.

Wolf pack in Yellowstone
Photo: Jort Vanderveen


Athni TS, Shocket MS, Caldwell IR, Caldwell JM, Childress JN, Childs ML, Couper LI, De Leo GA, Kirk D, MacDonald AJ, Nova N, Olivarius K, Pickel DG, Winokur OC, Young HS, Cheng J, Grant EA, Kurzner PM, Kyaw S, Lin BJ, López RC, Massihpour DS, Olsen EC, Roache M, Ruiz A, Schultz EA, Shafat M, Spencer RL, Mordecai EA. How vector-borne disease shaped the course of human history. Ecology Letters (under review). Authorea preprint

Allen WE, Altae-Tran H, Briggs J, Jin X, McGee G, Shi A, Raghavan R, Kamariza M,
Nova N, Pereta A, Danford C, Kamel A, Gothe P, Milam E, Aurambault J, Primke T, Li W, Inkenbrandt J, Huynh T, Chen E, Lee C, Croatto M, Bentley H, Lu W, Murray R, Travassos M, Coull BA, Openshaw J, Greene CS, Shalem O, King G, Probasco R, Cheng DR, Silbermann B, Zhang F, Lin X. Population-scale Longitudinal Mapping of COVID-19 Symptoms, Behavior, and Testing Identifies Contributors to Continued Disease Spread in the United States. Nature Human Behaviour (under review). medRxiv preprint

Childs ML, Kain MP, Kirk D, Harris M, Couper L, Nova N, Delwel I, Ritchie J, Mordecai EA. The impact of long-term non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 epidemic dynamics and control. Submitted. medRxiv preprint

Nova N, Deyle ER, Shocket MS, MacDonald AJ, Childs ML, Rypdal M, Sugihara G, Mordecai EA. Empirical dynamic modeling reveals ecological drivers of dengue dynamics. Submitted. bioRxiv preprint

Leempoel K, Meyer J, Hebert T, Nova N, Hadly EA. Return of an apex predator to a suburban preserve triggers a rapid trophic cascade. Submitted. bioRxiv preprint

Sokolow SH, Jones IJ, Wood CL, Lafferty KD, Garchitorena A, Hopkins SR, Lund AJ, MacDonald AJ, Nova N, Le Boa C, Peel AJ, Mordecai EA, Chamberlin A, Howard ME, Buck JC, Lopez-Carr D, Barry M, Bonds M, De Leo GA. More than one third of global human infectious disease burden is environmentally mediated, with disproportionate effects in rural poor areas. The Lancet Planetary Health (under review). The Lancet preprint

Hopkins SR, Sokolow SH, De Leo GA, Buck JC, Jones I, Kwong L, LeBoa C, Lund A, MacDonald A, Nova N, Olson SH, Peel AJ, Wood CL, Lafferty KD. Identifying win–wins for human health and conservation. Nature Sustainability (under review).

Smith JR, Hendershot JN, Nova N, Daily GC. 2020. The biogeography of ecoregions: Descriptive power across regions and taxa. Journal of Biogeography. 2020;47:1413–1426. doi:10.1111/jbi.13871

Sokolow SH, Nova N, Pepin MK, Peel AJ, Pulliam JRC, Manlove K, Cross PC, Becker DJ, Plowright RK, McCallum H, De Leo GA. 2019. Ecological levers to prevent and manage zoonotic pathogen spillover. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 374(1782):20180342. doi:10.1098/rstb.2018.0342

Childs ML, Nova N, Colvin J, Mordecai EA. 2019. Mosquito and primate ecology predict human risk of yellow fever virus spillover in Brazil. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 374(1782):20180335. doi:10.1098/rstb.2018.0335

Published Abstract

Van Wert M, Nova N, Horowitz T, Wolfe J. 2008. What does performance on one visual search task tell you about performance on another? Journal of Vision. 8(6):312. doi:10.1167/8.6.312

Book Chapter

Shocket MS, Anderson CB, Caldwell JM, Childs ML, Couper LI, Han S, Harris MJ, Howard ME, Kain MP, MacDonald AJ, Nova N, Mordecai EA. 2020. Environmental Drivers of Vector-Borne Diseases. In: Drake JM, editor. Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases: Population Biology of Vector-borne Diseases. Oxford University Press (in press).


Nova N, Alstergren P, Svensson C. 2012. Chronic inflammation and pain: Assessment of c-Fos and ATF-3 as markers of spinal neuronal activity in a pain model of rheumatoid arthritis. M.Sc. Thesis, Karolinska Institutet. PDF

Red fox
Photo: Jort Vanderveen

Logo for Bay Area Ecology and Evolution
of Infectious Diseases conference in 2019.

Sokolow SH, Nova N, et al.
2019. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B.

Childs ML, Nova N, et al.
2019. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B.

Mordecai EA et al.
2019. Ecol. Lett.

Shocket MS et al. 2020. Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases:
Population Biology of Vector-borne Diseases. Oxford University Press
(in press).

Shocket MS et al. 2020. Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases:
Population Biology of Vector-borne Diseases. Oxford University Press
(in press).

Office Address

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