Patrick R. Stephens, Assistant Professor

Macroecology of Infectious Diseases, Large-scale Patterns of Biodiversity, Vertebrate Evolutionary Ecology, Phylogenetics

Ph.D., 2005, Stony Brook University

Office: LSW 420


Lab website:

Specific Interests

I apply a macroecological perspective to understand large-scale disease dynamics and global patterns of biodiversity. The tools of my trade are data science and computational methods including statistical modeling, machine learning, and phylogenetic comparative methods. I primarily study zoonotic diseases (i.e., disease that can spread from wild animals to humans and domestic animals) and the biodiversity of terrestrial vertebrates (particularly amphibians, reptiles, and mammals). Current research topics include (1) risk factors for spillover and outbreak of African filoviruses such as Ebola, and (2) global patterns of biodiversity in squamates (lizards and snakes).

Selected Publications

  • Stephens, P. R., S. Huang, and M. Farrell (editors). 2021. Infectious disease macroecology: parasite diversity and dynamics across the globe. Philosophical Transactions B 376, issue 1837 (Theme Issue).
  • Stephens, P. R., N. Gottdenker, A. Schatz, J. P. Schmidt, J. Drake. 2021. Characteristics of the 100 largest modern zoonotic disease outbreaks. Philosophical Transactions B 376:20200535. link
  • Farrell, M. J., A. W. Park, C. E. Cressler, T. Dallas, S. Huang, N. Mideo, I. Morales-Castilla, J. Davies, P. R. Stephens. 2021. The ghost of hosts past: impacts of host extinction on parasite specificity. Philosophical Transactions B 376:20200351. link
  • Relyea, R., P. R. Stephens, J. L. Hammond. 2021. Phylogenetic patterns of trait and trait plasticity evolution: Insights from tadpoles. Evolution 75:2568–2588. link
  • Pappalardo, P., I. Morales-Castilla, A. W. Park, S. Huang, J. P. Schmidt and P. R. Stephens. 2020. Comparing methods for mapping global parasite diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography 29:182–193. link
  • Stephens, P. R., Altizer, S., Ezenwa, V. O., Gittleman, J. L., Moan, E., Han, B., Huang, S., and Pappalardo, P. 2019. Parasite sharing in wild ungulates and their predators: Effects of phylogeny, range overlap, and trophic links. Journal of Animal Ecology 88(7):1017–1028. link
  • Stephens, P. R., Pappalardo, P. , Huang, S. , Byers, J. E., Farrell, M. J., Gehman, A. , Ghai, R. R., Haas, S. E., Han, B. , Park, A. W., Schmidt, J. P., Altizer, S. , Ezenwa, V. O. and Nunn, C. L. 2017. Global Mammal Parasite Database version 2.0. Ecology 98:1476. link
  • Stephens, P. R., S. Altizer, K. F. Smith, A. Aguirre, J. H. Brown, S. A. Budischack, J. E. Byers, R. Critchlow, J. T. Davies, J. M. Drake, V. O. Ezenwa, M. J. Farrell, J. L. Gittleman, B. A. Han, S. Huang, R. A. Hutchinson, P. Johnson, C. L. Nunn, D. Onstad, A. Park, R. Poulin, G. M. Vazquez-Prokopec, J. P. Schmidt. 2016. The macroecology of infectious disease: a new perspective on global-scale drivers of pathogen distributions and impacts. Ecology Letters 19: 1159–1171. link