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Scott M. Duke-Sylvester

Dr. Duke-Sylvester is recently deceased. Inquiries may be directed to the department head at


1991 B.S. (Mathematics) University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC

1995 M.S. (Mathematics) University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Knoxville, TN

2006 Ph.D. (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Knoxville, TN

I am a theoretical ecologist by training and much of my research applies mathematical techniques to reveal the mechanisms driving contemporary patterns of species distribution and abundance. My current research focuses on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. The study of infectious diseases has emerged as an important and productive area for ecological and evolutionary research. Infectious diseases exhibit a wide range of interactions with their hosts and their study touches on many of the most basic and important ecological and evolutionary processes. Through the study of infectious diseases many important and interesting patterns and processes have been revealed. Examples of topics I am currently researching include the sources of periodic cycles in outbreak of infectious disease, the landscape ecology of diseases spread and the interaction between ecological and evolutionary processes that govern infectious disease dynamics.

My approach to research is strongly interdisciplinary and I make extensive use of both mathematical and computational modeling approaches. Modeling is a powerful tool for teasing apart the contribution of different mechanisms governing the spread of infectious diseases. I apply models to explore alternative hypotheses describing the origins of ecological and evolutionary patterns. I then use the theoretical results to design future experiments to support or falsify these hypotheses.


Duke-Sylvester, S.M., Biek, R. Real, L.A. (to appear). Molecular evolutionary signatures reveal the role of host ecological dynamics in viral disease emergence and spread. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Duke-Sylvester, S.M., Bolzoni, L., Real, L.A. (2010). Strong seasonality produces spatial asynchrony in the outbreak of infectious diseases. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 8:817-825

Clayton, T., Duke-Sylvester, S.M., Gross, L.J., Lenhart, S., Real, L.A. (2010). Optimal control of a rabies epidemic model with a birth pulse. Journal of Biological Dynamics. 4:43-58..

Duke-Sylvester, S.M., E.N. Perencevich, J.P. Furuno, L.A. Real, H. Gaff. (2008). Advancing epidemiological science through computational modeling. Annales Zoologici Fennici. 45:385-401

Fuller, M., L.J. Gross, S.M. Duke-Sylvester, M. Palmer, (2008). Testing the robustness of management decisions to uncertainty: Everglades restoration scenarios. Ecological Applications 18 (3): 711-723

Beckage B., E.J. Comiskey, S.M. Duke-Sylvester. 2005. Natural fire regimes in southern Florida - Response. Natural Areas Journal 25 (1): 6-8.

Duke-Sylvester, S.M., L.J. Gross. 1999. Integrating spatial data into an agent-based modeling system: Ideas and lessons from the development of the Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS). In: Integrating Geographic Information Systems and Agent-Based Modeling Techniques for Simulating Social and Ecological Processes. H. Randy Gimblett (editor). Oxford University Press, USA.

DeAngelis, D.L., L.J. Gross, M.A. Huston, W.F. Wolff, D.M. Fleming, E.J. Comiskey, S.M. Sylvester. 1998. Landscape modeling for Everglades’s ecosystem restoration. Ecosystems. 1 (1):65-75.


Feel free to contact me at this address:

Scott Duke-Sylvester, Department of Biology, PO Box 42451, Lafayette, LA 70504
Telephone: (337) 482 5304