David R. Daversa
I aim to carry out research and teaching in ecology and conservation as faculty at a top-tier university, working at the forefront of how wildlife movements impact disease spread.
Postdoctoral Research Positions
Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute for Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom, November 2016 – Present
Topic: Quantifying host species contributions to pathogen transmission in multihost communities
Postdoctoral Researcher, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC), East Alton, Illinois, 62024, USA, October 2015 – October 2016
Topic: Intraspecific trait variation and predator-prey interactions in amphibian communities
PhD, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Oct. 2016
Dissertation Title: Movement and parasitism in fragmented habitats.
Bachelor of Science, Forestry, Summa Cum Laude with honors, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, Virginia, May 2006
Grants & Awards
Research Coordination Network workshop scholarship, 2019 ($1200)
Natural Environment Research Council Standard Grant, 2016 (£635,949)
Cambridge Trusts PhD Extension Grant, 2014 (£12,000)
Finalist, TED fellowship, 2013
St. Johns College Travel Grant, 2013 (£500)
Balfour Trust Fund Award (£9,270)
St. John’s College Research and Learning Fund, 2011 (£500)
Cambridge International Scholarship, 2011 (£32,625 + 3-year tuition fees)
U.S. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2011 ($75,000 + 3-year tuition fees)
Fulbright Scholarship, 2009 ($14,000)
William August Stuermann Scholarship, 2004 ($12,000)
National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, 2005 ($5,000)
Daversa, D.R. R. Hechinger, A. Fenton, E. Madin, J. Rohr, A. Dell, V. Rudolph, K. Lafferty. 2019. Beyond the ecology of fear: non-lethal effects of predators are strong whereas those of parasites are diverse. Biorxiv. (under review by invitation at Ecology Letters)
Pauwels, O., P. Carlino, L. Chirio, D.R. Daversa, J. Lips, R. Oslisly and O. Testa. 2019. Amphibians and reptiles found in caves in Gabon, western Equatorial Africa. Cave and Karst Science 46 (1): 3-12.
Daversa, D.R., A. Manica, J. Bosch, T.W.J. Garner. 2018. Routine habitat switching alters the likelihood and persistence of infection with a pathogenic parasite. Functional Ecology. 32:1262–1270. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13038
Daversa, D.R., C. Monsalve-Carcaño, LM Carrascal, J Bosch. 2018. Seasonal migrations, body temperature fluctuations, and infection dynamics in adult amphibians. PeerJ 6:e4698; DOI 10.7717/peerj.4698
Daversa, D.R., A. Fenton, T.W.J. Garner, A. Dell, A. Manica. 2017. Infections on the move: How transient phases of host movement influence disease spread. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20171807. DOI:
Daversa, D.R., E. Muths and J. Bosch. 2012. Terrestrial movement patterns of the Common Toad (Bufo bufo) in Central Spain reveal habitat of conservation importance. Journal of Herpetology 46: 658-664.
Daversa, D.R, J. Bosch and K. Jeffrey. 2011. First survey of the disease-causing fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in amphibian populations of Gabon, Africa. Herpetology Review 42 (1): 67-69.
Daversa, D.R. 2006. Agroforestry systems in northern China: promoting development and environmental improvement. China Environment Series 8: 130-152.
Daversa, D.R., S. Prisley, and M. Mortimer. 2006. Estimation of forest area affected by local Ordinances: A Virginia Case Study. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry 30(4): 188-195.
Other Professional Experience
My professional experience positions me to coordinate large projects that integrate science, conservation, and public policy. I worked with conservationists ‘on-the-ground’ in Gabon to improve primate protection from poaching and agriculture. Through governmental work, I applied my geo-spatial skills facilitate disaster relief efforts in Texas, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. I developed partnerships between education officials and business leaders in the US with communities in Belize, Hondorus, Gabon, and South Africa that improved infrastructure and education.
Research Associate, University of California, Berkeley, June –2007, 2010
Topics: Field tests of probiotic treatments of diseased amphibians in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park;
Understanding density-dependence of disease outbreaks in alpine amphibian assemblages in the Sierra Nevada
Research Associate, Estacion Biologica de Doñana, Seville, Spain, 2010
Topic: Dispersal dynamics of the Pygmy Newt (Tritorus pygmaeus) in Doñana National Park, southern Spain
Research Associate, Station d’Etudes des Gorilles et Chimpanzés/Wilderness Conservation Society, Gabon, 2008
Topics: Primate monitoring and conservation in Lope National Park; Disease surveillance in amphibians of Gabon
Research Associate, Briggs lab, University of California, Berkeley, 2007
Topic: The impacts of Sudden Oak Death on Lyme Disease (LD) risk in Northern California
GIS Specialist, United States Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2006 –2011
Topic: Using geospatial analyses to measure the economic and environmental impacts of natural disasters
Project Manager, Peacework, 2006 –2011
Topic: Developing service-based partnerships between US universities and businesses with communities in Belize, Honduras, South Africa, and the Dominican Republic
Research Associate, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, 2006
Topics: Invasive plant management in the Southern Rocky Mountains; long-term demography of small mammals
Mentoring and Outreach
I have mentored students at the undergraduate, masters and PhD level. At the University of Liverpool, I played a central role in the development and execution of research projects on biological control of amphibian pathogens that received distinctions for their research ingenuity. Two Master’s student projects that I supervised at the Zoological Society of London received distinctions for their insights about amphibian welfare and disease transmission. As primary supervisor, I helped develop research skills of an undergraduate intern at NGRREC, which led to her receiving a PhD assistantship in ecology at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
I taught 15 credit hours of tutorials in Ecology, Population Biology and Animal Behaviour at the University of Cambridge. These sessions involved leading discussions of course material and assigning and providing extensive feedback and grading weekly essays. I am currently involved in the British Ecology Society working group on ecology education to horizon scan future challenges and opportunities of teaching ecology.
Wiley Science advisor, Oct 2012 – 2015
Provided academic input, research opinions and publishing advice to Wiley publishing
Science Education Assistant, SEEDS, Blacksburg, Va, Sept. 2004 - May 2006
Taught primary and secondary students field biology principles as part of the initiatives of the non-profit organization Seek Education Explore DiScover (SEEDS)
Journal Reviewer, 2011 - Present
Reviewed manuscripts for Ecological Applications, Journal of Animal Ecology, Functional Ecology, Scientific Reports, Journal of Herpetology, Herpetological Review, Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, Parasitology Research, as well as a chapter for a forthcoming book, Wildlife Disease Ecology: Linking Theory to Data and Applications.
Distinguished Science Essays
In addition to publishing in scholarly journals, I strive to communicate science to more general audiences. My science essays were selected for publication by the journal Science, and Europe Pubmed Central, and I was a science writer for the Cambridge University student newspaper Varsity.
Daversa, D.R. 2013. How heels help people walk. Access to Understanding. Europe Pubmed Central. (finalist)
Daversa, D.R. 2012. The future of science. In NextGen voices. Science 335 (6064): 36 – 38. (Top 10 essay)
Daversa, D.R. 2012. The definition of a successful scientist. In NextGen voices. Science 336 (6077): 32-34.
(Top 50 essay)
Daversa, D.R. Cambridge Zoologists Solve Great Mystery of Woolly Mammoth Extinctions. Varsity. (5 March 2012).
How movement ecology and improve predictions for disease spread. Disease Ecology Seminar, Dept. of Zoology, University of Oxford, October 2019.
Factoring Amphibian Behaviour and Habitat Structure into Chytrid Mitigation Strategies. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Scientific Meeting 2018, Bournemouth, United Kingdom, Dec 2018.
Moving Forward With Spatial Disease Models. CEID seminar, University of Georgia, August 2018
The Non-Lethal Consequences of Parasitism versus Predation. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, August 2018.
Linking Individual Trait Variation to Trophic Ecology. NGRREC Seminar. East Alton, IL. Sept. 2016.
Movement and Parasitism in Fragmented Habitats. Ecology and Evolution Seminar, Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, USA. March 2016.
Contributed Presentations and Posters
Species Contributions to Transmission in Multi-host Communities. Jacques Monod Conference: Open Questions in Disease Ecology and Evolution: from Basic Research to Evolutionary Medicine.Roscoff, France. October 2017. (poster)
The Role of Habitat Heterogeneity and Host Behaviour in Infection Dynamics. Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases, Santa Barbara, California, June 2017. (talk)
High Throughput Automated Imaging System for Quantifying Behaviour and Trophic Interactions. Gordon Research Conference: Predator-Prey Interactions, Ventura California, June 2017. (poster)
Exposure Frequency and Habitat Alter Infection Dynamics. British Ecological Society Joint Meeting, Lille France. Dec. 2014. (talk)
Disease spread in amphibian metacommunities. Student Conference, ZSL. Feb. 2014 (Runner-up for best talk)