Profile

Sonia Altizer

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and UGA Athletic Association Professor
Odum School of Ecology

Research Interests
I am broadly interested in pollinator conservation and the consequences of infectious diseases for wildlife conservation. For the past 15 years, I have studied the migration and ecology of monarch butterflies, with a major focus on the consequences of long-distance migration in these butterflies (and other animals more broadly) for the spread and evolution of debilitating parasites. As monarch migration is threatened by habitat loss and climate change, we are also interested in how the unravelling of migration will affect host-pathogen interactions. I recently launched a related project to study how human-created butterfly gardens affect pollinator behavior and conservation. A second major project has focused on understanding patterns of infectious disease diversity in wild mammals at a global scale using large ecoinformatics databases and computationally intensive approaches. Conservation related questions include asking how wildlife disease distributions depend on the presence and characteristics of nature reserves, and quantifying how the loss of threatened wildlife species might cause associated losses of parasite biodiversity. Other work in collaboration with students and other researchers examines how seasonality and urban land use affect avian infectious diseases, how human disturbance alters the dynamics of rabies in vampire bats, and the role of social behavior in mitigating infectious disease risks in African apes.