Ecology and Evolution of Diseases
in Complex, Natural Systems

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 ecological drivers and incidence in a complex vector-borne disease system: dengue dynamics in the Americas. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease and the climate may affect mosquito survival, abundance, and thus disease transmission. EDM demonstrates that population dynamics (i.e., pool of susceptible individuals) modulates the climate effects (i.e., temperature and rainfall) on dengue incidence. This interdependency is important to consider when building models that forecast dengue epidemics for public health interventions. This study was published in Ecology Letters. doi:10.1111/ele.13652

Wolf pack in Yellowstone
Photo: Jort Vanderveen

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

* denotes co-first authorship


Hopkins SR, Lafferty KD, Wood CL, Olson SH, Buck JC, De Leo GA, Fiorella KJ, Fornberg J, Garchitorena A, Jones IJ, Kuris AM, Kwong LH, LeBoa C, Leon AE, Lund AJ, MacDonald AJ, Metz DCG, Nova N, Peel AJ, Remais JV, Stewart Merrill TE, Wilson M, Bonds MH, Dobson AP, Lopez Carr D, Howard ME, Mandle L, Sokolow SH. 2022. Evidence gaps and diversity among potential win–win solutions for conservation and human infectious disease control. The Lancet Planetary Health. 6:e694–e705.

Hopkins SR*, Jones IJ*, Buck JC, LeBoa C, Kwong LH, Jacobsen K, Rickards C, Lund AJ, Nova N, MacDonald AJ, Lambert-Peck M, De Leo GA, Sokolow SH. 2022. Environmental persistence of the world’s most burdensome infectious and parasitic diseases. Frontiers in Public Health. 10:892366. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2022.892366

Nova N, Athni TS, Childs ML, Mandle L, Mordecai EA. 2022. Global change and emerging infectious diseases. Annual Review of Resource Economics. 14:1.

Nova N, Pagliara R, Gordon DM. 2022. Individual variation does not regulate foraging response to humidity in harvester ant colonies. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9:756204. doi:10.3389/fevo.2021.756204


Glidden CK*, Nova N*, Kain MP, Lagerstrom KM, Skinner EB, Mandle L, Sokolow SH, Plowright RK, Dirzo R, De Leo GA, Mordecai EA. 2021. Human-mediated impacts on biodiversity and the consequences for zoonotic disease spillover. Current Biology. 31(19):R1342–R1361. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2021.08.070

Nova N. 2021. Cross-species transmission of coronaviruses in humans and domestic mammals, what are the ecological mechanisms driving transmission, spillover, and disease emergence? Frontiers in Public Health. 9:717941. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2021.717941

Childs ML*, Kain MP*, Harris MJ*, Kirk DG, Couper LI, Nova N, Delwel I, Ritchie J, Becker AD, Mordecai EA. 2021. The impact of long-term non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 epidemic dynamics and control: the value and limitations of early models. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 288(1957):20210811. doi:10.1098/rspb.2021.0811

Couper LI, Farner JE, Caldwell JM, Childs ML, Harris MJ, Kirk DG, Nova N, Shocket MS, Skinner EB, Uricchio LH, Exposito-Alonso M, Mordecai EA. 2021. How will mosquitoes adapt to climate warming? eLife. 10:e69630. doi:10.7554/eLife.69630

Hopkins SR, Sokolow SH, Buck JC, De Leo GA, Jones IJ, Kwong LH, LeBoa C, Lund AJ, MacDonald AJ, Nova N, Olson SH, Peel AJ, Wood CL, Lafferty KD. 2021. How to identify win–win interventions that benefit human health and conservation. Nature Sustainability. 4(4):298–304. doi:10.1038/s41893-020-00640-z

Athni TS, Shocket MS, Couper LI, Nova N, Caldwell IR, Caldwell JM, Childress JN, Childs ML, De Leo GA, Kirk D, MacDonald AJ, 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, Bharti N, Mordecai EA. 2021. The influence of vector-borne disease on human history: socio-ecological mechanisms. Ecology Letters. 24(4):829–846. doi:10.1111/ele.13675

Nova N, Deyle ER, Shocket MS, MacDonald AJ, Childs ML, Rypdal M, Sugihara G, Mordecai EA. 2021. Susceptible host availability modulates climate effects on dengue dynamics. Ecology Letters. 24(3):415–425. doi:10.1111/ele.13652


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. 2020. Population-scale longitudinal mapping of COVID-19 symptoms, behaviour and testing. Nature Human Behaviour. 4(9):972–982.

Smith JR, Hendershot JN, Nova N, Daily GC. 2020. The biogeography of ecoregions: Descriptive power across regions and taxa. Journal of Biogeography. 47(7):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 interventions 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


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, Howard ME, Buck JC, Lopez-Carr D, Barry M, Bonds M, De Leo GA. Global analysis of ecological and socio-economic factors associated with the human burden of environmentally mediated pathogens. Under review. The Lancet preprint

Holcomb KM, Mathis S, Staples JE, Fischer M, Barker CM, Beard CB, Nett RJ, Keyel AC, Marcantonio M, Childs ML, Gorris ME, Rochlin I, Hamins-Puertolas M, Ray EL, Uelman JA, Freedman AS, Hollingsworth BD, Das P, Osthus D, Humphreys JM, Nova N, Mordecai EA, Cohnstaedt LW, Kirk DG, Kramer LD, Harris MJ, Kain MP, Reed EMX, Johansson MA. Evaluation of an open forecasting challenge to assess skill of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease prediction. Under review. Research Square preprint

Leempoel K*, Nova N*, Sonawane C, Meyer JM, Hebert T, Hadly EA. The natural return of an apex predator (Puma concolor) to a suburban preserve triggers a rapid behaviorally-mediated trophic cascade. In revision. bioRxiv preprint

Book Chapters

Kirk DG*, Skinner EB*, Shocket MS, Couper LI, Nova N, Athni TS, Pourtois JD, Farner JE, Childs ML, Nyathi S, Mordecai EA. Climate Change and Disease Ecology. In: Suzán G, Aguirre AA, Mills JM, editors. The Ecology of Infectious Diseases: Methods on Evolution, Biodiversity, and Environmental Interactions. Oxford University Press. In press.

Shocket MS, Anderson CB, Caldwell JM, Childs ML, Couper LI, Han S, Harris MJ, Howard ME, Kain MP, MacDonald AJ, Nova N, Mordecai EA. 2021. Environmental drivers of vector-borne diseases. In: Drake JM, Bonsall M, Strand M, editors. Population Biology of Vector-borne Diseases (Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Series).
Oxford University Press. ISBN:9780198853244

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


Nova N. 2022. Ecological and Evolutionary Mechanisms for Emerging Infectious Diseases: Case Studies in Humans and Mammalian Wildlife. PhD Dissertation, Stanford University. Committee: Erin Mordecai, Dmitri Petrov, Elizabeth Hadly, Giulio De Leo, and Marcus Feldman. PDF

Nova N. 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. MSc Thesis, Karolinska Institutet. Committee: Per Alstergren, Camilla Svensson. PDF

Red fox
Photo: Jort Vanderveen

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

Athni TS, Shocket MS, Couper LI, Nova N et al. 2021. Ecol. Lett.

Athni TS, Shocket MS, Couper LI, Nova N et al. 2021. Ecol. Lett.

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. 2021. Population Biology of Vector-borne Diseases. Oxford University Press.

Shocket MS et al. 2021. Population Biology of Vector-borne Diseases. Oxford University Press.

Office Address

Room 101A, Bass Building,
327 Campus Drive,
Stanford, CA 94305