Title: Quantitative Research Biologist
Address: 4101 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins CO 80521-2154
PhD, University of Idaho “Mechanisms of viral adaptation”, 2006
BSc, University of British Columbia, Ecology, 1998
Areas of Expertise
Quantitative biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Disease dynamics, wildlife-livestock interface
Department of Biology, Colorado State University
China (avian influenza)
Brazil (dengue fever)
Dr. Pepin is a quantitative ecologist that develops models for assisting the implementation of wildlife management and disease surveillance/control strategies. The quantitative approaches used involves parameter estimation from data, prediction from statistical models, and mechanistic dynamical models developed from field data.
One primary research avenue Dr. Pepin pursues is to develop quantitative tools for guiding decision making in wildlife management – especially for controlling feral swine. Monitoring is important for most wildlife management programs but can be difficult to conduct well because resources are often prioritized for control rather than monitoring. Thus, she aims to develop methods and user-friendly tools for inferring management efficacy based on management data that are readily collected, and to identify strategies for collecting monitoring data which impose low burden on managers. She focuses on problems such as inferring population density or damage before and after management and determining when management goals have been achieved so that resource allocation can be optimized in space and time. Dr. Pepin also conducts studies to identify and understand key ecological processes that are essential for planning science-based management solutions and identifying the best targets for management.
Understanding and predicting disease dynamics in wildlife is challenging because demographic and ecological data are often sparse and disease signatures can be difficult to find. A second major focus of her research is to quantify processes that are important in wildlife disease transmission, such as contact structure and movement. She aims to understand the role of these processes in disease risk in wildlife populations at the wildlife-livestock interface and determine their effects on efficacy of interventions. This knowledge is applied to developing tools for predicting geographic spread of disease (and similar process such as species invasions), informing optimal resource allocation, designing surveillance systems, and determining effective control strategies. Dr. Pepin also develops improved methods for assessing disease risk in wildlife populations by accounting for disease-dynamic mechanisms and wildlife-specific ecology. Currently, she’s particularly interested in avian influenza, carnivore rabies, and important diseases of swine such as African swine fever.