Dr. Pieter Johnson

Ecology of disease and invasions 

I am broadly interested in the ecology of infectious diseases and invasive species. Both have important consequences not only for individuals and populations, but for entire ecological communities and ecosystem processes. Invasions and disease also have costly economic and health repercussions for human societies. Parasites and pathogens are an integrated component of all major food webs, such that understanding how infectious diseases respond to environmental changes requires approaches that embrace the dynamic interactions among hosts, pathogens, and other species in a community.
By combining experiments, large-scale spatial and temporal data, molecular tools and ecological modeling, we strive to bring a mechanistic perspective to these questions as a prerequisite for management. Currently my research program is directed at three inter-related focal areas: (i) the community ecology of infectious diseases in both humans and wildlife; (ii) effective conservation of aquatic communities and ecosystems; and (iii) the effects of climate change on host-parasite dynamics. All have immediate relevance to both fundamental questions in ecology and applied conservation. Given the complex and interdisciplinary nature of these issues, I also have a strong commitment to collaboration, both among the subdisciplines of ecology and between ecology and other fields. I am always looking for new students and collaborators that bring a fresh perspective to these questions.