Holly Ernest, DVM, PhD
Wildlife Genetics, Genomics, and Disease Ecology for Population Health
Laboratory director and
Wildlife Genetics and Population Health Laboratory
Dept. of Population Health and Reproduction, and
Veterinary Genetics laboratory
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California, Davis
New position as of Fall 2014:
Professor, Wyoming Excellence Chair in Disease Ecology
Genomics and ecology of wildlife and their pathogens
University of Wyoming, Laramie
hernest (at) uwyo.edu
Wyoming Lab Web Site:
• Research to develop and apply latest technology in DNA science, disease diagnostics, and ecological & epidemiology statistical analysis toward health, conservation, and management of wild animal populations.
• Educating the next generation of genomic scientists, applied ecologists, and wildlife veterinarians
• Providing wildlife population health service and information
- Ph.D. Ecology, with emphasis on Wildlife Genetics and Population Health:
University of California, Davis.
- Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Cum Laude, Ohio State University.
- M.S., Ohio State University, Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology.
- B.Sc., Cornell University, Biology (Animal Science and Biology).
Interdisciplinary applied and basic research in population genomics, landscape-level wildlife genetics, and disease ecology for wildlife conservation and population health.
- Free-ranging species of conservation & management concern
- Threatened and endangered species
Special interests in genetics and genomics for wildlife health: Population Genetics; Molecular DNA to reconstruct predigrees (family trees) to reveal ecological relationships among individuals, kin groups, populations and disease distributions; Discovery of associations among genetic mechanisms, genetic diversity and evolutionary history and phenotypic diversity (phenotype is the composite of an organism's observable characteristics or traits).
Special interest species: Mountain Lion, Bighorn Sheep, Sea Otter, Black Bear, Hummingbirds, Yellow-billed Magpie, Swainson's Hawk, Great Gray Owl, Feral Hog in California (wild pig, wild boar).
Special interest diseases: Avian pox virus, avian hemoparasites (such as avian malaria), West Nile virus, Trichinella in bears and wild pigs, wildlife leptospirosis, and others
Special interest regions: California and western North America, Mexico, Chile; South/Central America; global interests
Teaching and Education
Courses: Undergraduate, Graduate student, and Veterinary Student courses developed and taught:
Ecological Genetics and Genomics: at UC Davis 2008-2013 ECL242 / PHR242
Landscape Genetics with GIS (with Dr. Karen Beardsley) 2010 and 2011
Population Genetics Data Analysis and Software: ECL290 taught periodically between 2004-2009
Molecular Markers for Ecology, Conservation, and Wildlife Population Health: ECL290 taught periodically
Co-leader for Population Health Veterinary Curriculum UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Including Epidemiology, Public Health, Foreign Animal Diseases, Biostatistics, One Health, Ecosystem Health, Population Health. 2012-2014.
Student Opportunities (Graduate, Veterinary, Undergraduate) - now in Wyoming!
Graduate student research and mentorship opportunities - now in Wyoming!
- Engaging bright and motivated undergraduate, graduate, veterinary, and post-doctoral students who have scientific curiosity in the exciting and rapidly changing field of ecological genetics and wildlife population health.
- Provide a collaborative, intellectually-challenging, and nurturing atmosphere. My aim is for students to grow their appreciation and talents in the art and science of designing and conducting studies involving DNA, ecology, and population health analyses of free-ranging wildlife.
Public and University Service
- Associate Editor, Conservation Genetics journal
- Working with members of the public and professionals from state, federal, international, and nongovernmental agencies to advance science for wildlife conservation.
- Secretary, Wildlife Veterinary Section of the Wildlife Disease Association
- Engaging Citizen Scientists of all ages (kids to senior citizens), such as Hummingbird Health Program, members of the public of all ages learn and work with us for wildlife science and conservation.
- Advisory Board, John Muir Center for the Environment 2011-2012
- Bighorn Sheep in the desert Southwest: Landscape Genetics and population connnectivity
- Hummingbird Health & Conservation Genetics, natural history, threats, disease ecology, and landscape genetics
- Domestic (pet) Ferret:genetics for cancer research
- California sea otters: Development and application of DNA markers for individual, kinship, and disease studies
- Mountain lions (pumas): Landscape Genetics and population connectivity
- Black Bears: Disease ecology, non-invasive population genetics
- Yellow-Billed Magpies: Ecology and species genetics
- Feral Pigs in California: Population genetics to assist management and control
UC Davis affiliations
Professional Societies and Memberships
- Audubon Society
- American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians
- American Ornithologists' Union
- Cooper Ornithological Society
- The Wildlife Society, including Western section
- Wildlife Disease Association (Committee service: Student Awards Committee, 2010-2012)
- Wilson Ornithological Society
Licensed California veterinarian
Master Bird Bander Federal U.S. permit (Hummingbirds)
Banding Hummingbird at McLaughlin Nature Reserve near Clear Lake, CA
Holly investigating botulsim outbreak in bighorn sheep, Mojave desert, California