We study the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of infectious disease in natural populations. Research in the lab is focused on understanding the impact of infectious disease on host abundance and distribution in natural populations, and how these ecological effects intersect with the evolution of important host and pathogen traits such as transmission and resistance. We use plants and their fungal pathogens as powerful model systems for investigating these questions.

Latest publications

Latest publications

Our paper on pollinator sex-preferences and disease transmission is now up on early view at Ecology.   Laura Pierce, a former UVA undergrad is a co--author!

Nov 2018.  New paper out in Evolution with Ian Miller: The role of infectious disease in the evolution of females: Evidence from anther‐smut disease on a gynodioecious alpine carnation

July 2018. New paper out in Journal of Ecology: Is there a disease-free halo at species range limits?  The co-distribution of anther-smut and its hosts.

June 2018. New paper with Ben Ashby published in Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B: The evolution of juvenile susceptibility to infectious disease

June 2018. New paper published in American Journal of Botany: Effect of anther-smut disease caused by the fungal pathogen Microbotryum on the pre-flowering growth of its host Silene latifolia.  


June 2018. David's thesis paper on anther-smut in Silene baccifera is published in Plant Pathology: Anther-smut disease caused by Microbotryum on berry campion Silene baccifera: endemic pathogen or host-shift? 


August 2018. Our experimental plants have been donkey'ed down the mountain for overwintering.

Census of long-term plot near Rifugio Garelli in the Parco Naturale del Marguareis, Italy.  July 16-28, 2019

Pictures from the field





No Italy trip this year, but we have been keeping busy at our field site in Beltsville, MD.



University of Maryland

Dept. of Biology

4223 Biology-Psychology Bldg.

College Park, MD 20742

Office 301-405-7684