Gregory Dwyer

Research Summary
My lab studies the ecology and evolution of pathogens, and how pathogens drive the evolution and population dynamics of their hosts. Two major questions that we ask are, how does host variation affect pathogen epidemics and pathogen evolution? And, how does pathogen variation modulate the effects of pathogens on host population dynamics? We attempt to answer these questions by first constructing mathematical models of host-pathogen dynamics, and then by testing the models using a combination of experiments and observations of epidemics in nature. We use insect pathogens as test systems, but the general usefulness of the advanced computing techniques that we use has led to studies of human papillomavirus and salmon conservation. Insect pathogens play a key role in preventing the destruction of forests, and this role has driven new projects on the ecology and economics of biological control, and on the effects of climate change on insect outbreaks.
Host-Pathogen Interactions, Eco-evolutionary dynamics, Mathematical ecoloty, Statistical Computing, Climate Change, Quantitative Ecology
  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Ph.D. Zoology 1990
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, B.A. with Honors Biology 1983
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
Awards & Honors
  • 1998 - George Mercer Award for an Outstanding Paper by an Author of Age Less Than 40 Ecological Society of America
  • 2014 - Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching University of Chicago
  1. Can Eco-Evo Theory Explain Population Cycles in the Field? Am Nat. 2022 01; 199(1):108-125. View in: PubMed

  2. Use of a mechanistic growth model in evaluating post-restoration habitat quality for juvenile salmonids. PLoS One. 2020; 15(6):e0234072. View in: PubMed

  3. An Empirical Test of the Role of Small-Scale Transmission in Large-Scale Disease Dynamics. Am Nat. 2020 04; 195(4):616-635. View in: PubMed

  4. Stochasticity and Infectious Disease Dynamics: Density and Weather Effects on a Fungal Insect Pathogen. Am Nat. 2020 03; 195(3):504-523. View in: PubMed

  5. Combined Effects of Natural Enemies and Competition for Resources on a Forest Defoliator: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis. Am Nat. 2019 12; 194(6):807-822. View in: PubMed

  6. Untangling the dynamics of persistence and colonization in microbial communities. ISME J. 2019 12; 13(12):2998-3010. View in: PubMed

  7. Effects of multiple sources of genetic drift on pathogen variation within hosts. PLoS Biol. 2018 03; 16(3):e2004444. View in: PubMed

  8. Recurring infection with ecologically distinct HPV types can explain high prevalence and diversity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 12 19; 114(51):13573-13578. View in: PubMed

  9. Eco-Evolutionary Theory and Insect Outbreaks. Am Nat. 2017 Jun; 189(6):616-629. View in: PubMed

  10. Genotype-by-genotype interactions between an insect and its pathogen. J Evol Biol. 2016 12; 29(12):2480-2490. View in: PubMed

  11. Phenotypic Variation in Overwinter Environmental Transmission of a Baculovirus and the Cost of Virulence. Am Nat. 2015 Dec; 186(6):797-806. View in: PubMed

  12. Effects of host heterogeneity on pathogen diversity and evolution. Ecol Lett. 2015 Nov; 18(11):1252-1261. View in: PubMed

  13. Effects of pathogen exposure on life-history variation in the gypsy?moth (Lymantria dispar). J Evol Biol. 2015 Oct; 28(10):1828-39. View in: PubMed

  14. Effects of forest spatial structure on insect outbreaks: insights from a host-parasitoid model. Am Nat. 2015 May; 185(5):E130-52. View in: PubMed

  15. The effects of the avoidance of infectious hosts on infection risk in an insect-pathogen interaction. Am Nat. 2015 Jan; 185(1):100-12. View in: PubMed

  16. Pathogen growth in insect hosts: inferring the importance of different mechanisms using stochastic models and response-time data. Am Nat. 2014 Sep; 184(3):407-23. View in: PubMed

  17. Population-level differences in disease transmission: a Bayesian analysis of multiple smallpox epidemics. Epidemics. 2013 Sep; 5(3):146-56. View in: PubMed

  18. Induced plant defenses, host-pathogen interactions, and forest insect outbreaks. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Sep 10; 110(37):14978-83. View in: PubMed

  19. Pathogen persistence in the environment and insect-baculovirus interactions: disease-density thresholds, epidemic burnout, and insect outbreaks. Am Nat. 2012 Mar; 179(3):E70-96. View in: PubMed

  20. Cheating, trade-offs and the evolution of aggressiveness in a natural pathogen population. Ecol Lett. 2011 Nov; 14(11):1149-57. View in: PubMed

  21. Host behaviour and exposure risk in an insect-pathogen interaction. J Anim Ecol. 2010 Jul; 79(4):863-70. View in: PubMed

  22. Host-pathogen interactions, insect outbreaks, and natural selection for disease resistance. Am Nat. 2008 Dec; 172(6):829-42. View in: PubMed

  23. Using mechanistic models to understand synchrony in forest insect populations: the North American gypsy moth as a case study. Am Nat. 2008 Nov; 172(5):613-24. View in: PubMed

  24. Spatial scale and the spread of a fungal pathogen of gypsy moth. Am Nat. 1998 Sep; 152(3):485-94. View in: PubMed

  25. Host heterogeneity in susceptibility and disease dynamics: tests of a mathematical model. Am Nat. 1997 Dec; 150(6):685-707. View in: PubMed

  26. Population consequences of constitutive and inducible plant resistance: herbivore spatial spread. Am Nat. 1997 Jun; 149(6):1071-90. View in: PubMed

  27. Food limitation and insect outbreaks: complex dynamics in plant-herbivore models. J Anim Ecol. 2007 Sep; 76(5):1004-14. View in: PubMed

  28. Uncertainty in predictions of disease spread and public health responses to bioterrorism and emerging diseases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Oct 17; 103(42):15693-7. View in: PubMed

  29. Combining population-dynamic and ecophysiological models to predict climate-induced insect range shifts. Am Nat. 2006 Jun; 167(6):853-66. View in: PubMed

  30. Resource-dependent dispersal and the speed of biological invasions. Am Nat. 2006 Feb; 167(2):165-76. View in: PubMed

  31. Combining stochastic models with experiments to understand the dynamics of monarch butterfly colonization. Am Nat. 2005 Dec; 166(6):731-50. View in: PubMed

  32. Should models of disease dynamics in herbivorous insects include the effects of variability in host-plant foliage quality? Am Nat. 2005 Jan; 165(1):16-31. View in: PubMed

  33. The combined effects of pathogens and predators on insect outbreaks. Nature. 2004 Jul 15; 430(6997):341-5. View in: PubMed

  34. Models and data on plant-enemy coevolution. Annu Rev Genet. 2001; 35:469-99. View in: PubMed

  35. Hybrid zone dynamics and species replacement between Orconectes crayfishes in a northern Wisconsin lake. Evolution. 2001 Jun; 55(6):1153-66. View in: PubMed

  36. Pathogen-Driven Outbreaks in Forest Defoliators Revisited: Building Models from Experimental Data. Am Nat. 2000 Aug; 156(2):105-120. View in: PubMed

  37. Dynamics of disease resistance polymorphism at the Rpm1 locus of Arabidopsis. Nature. 1999 Aug 12; 400(6745):667-71. View in: PubMed

  38. On the spatial spread of insect pathogens: theory and experiment. Ecology. 1992; 73:479-494.::::

  39. Host dispersal and the spatial spread of insect pathogens. Ecology. 1995; 143:533-562.::::

  40. Modelling the epizootiology of gypsy moth nuclear polyhedrosis virus. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 1995; 13:91-102.::::

  41. A simulation model of the population dynamics and evolution of myxomatosis. Ecological Monographs. 1990; 60:423-447.::::

  42. Density-dependence and spatial structure in the dynamics of insect pathogens. Am Nat. 1994; 143:533-562.::::

  43. Virus transmission in gypsy moths is not a mass-action process. Ecology. 1996; 77:201-206.::::

  44. Foliage damage does not affect within-season transmission of an insect virus. Ecology. 1998; 79:1104-1110.::::

  45. The roles of density, stage and patchiness in the transmission of an insect virus. Ecology. 1991; 72:559-574.::::

  46. Demographic stochasticity, environmental variability, and windows of invasion risk for Bythotrephes longimanus in North America. Biological invasions. 2006; 8:843-861.::::

  47. Immigration events dispersed in space and time: factors affecting invasion success. Ecological Modelling. 2007; 206:63-78.::::

  48. Using simple models to predict virus epizootics in gypsy-moth populations. J. Anim. Ecol. 1993; 62:1-11.::::

  49. Outbreaks and interacting factors: Insect population explosions synthesized and dissected. Integrative Biology. 1998; 1:166-177.::::