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Laboratory of Holly Ernest

Holly Ernest

Holly Ernest

Holly ErnestHolly Ernest, DVM, PhD

Wildlife Population Ecology, Genetics, Genomics, and Disease Ecology for Conservation and Wildlife Health

Wildlife Biologist, Population Geneticist, and Research Veterinarian
Professor, Wyoming Excellence Chair in Disease Ecology
Lead Investigator: Wildlife Genomics and Disease Ecology Lab

Dedicated to:

  • Research in wildlife sciences for improved animal, ecosystem, and human health.
  • Research to develop and apply latest methods in genomic science, wildlife biology, disease ecology, toward health, conservation, and management of wild animal populations.
  • Educating the next generation of scientists, wildlife biologists, and veterinarians in disease ecology and wildlife genomics
  • Providing wildlife population health service and information

Holly Ernest CV      |      LinkedIn



ORCID Researcher Page:



  • 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).


Holly Ernest in elk feed groundsInterdisciplinary applied and basic research in genetics, genomics, biology, and disease ecology for wildlife conservation and population health.

View publications.

  • Free-ranging species of conservation & management concern
  • Threatened and endangered species

Special interests in genetics and genomics for wildlife health and disease ecology: Population Genetics; Molecular DNA to reconstruct pedigrees (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). Wildlife Forensic Genetics.

Special interest species: Mountain Lion, Pronghorn, Bighorn Sheep, Sea Otter, Black Bear, Hummingbirds, Great Gray Owl, Yellow-billed Magpie, Swainson’s Hawk, ticks, bugs, worms, germs.

Special interest diseases: Avian pox virus, avian hemoparasites (such as avian malaria), West Nile virus, Trichinella in bears and wild pigs, and others

Special interest regions: Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West, California and western North America, Mexico, Chile; South/Central America; global interests

See Research pages

Funding agencies and collaborators

  • Wyoming Department of Fish and Game
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Wyoming Wildlife Council
  • Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation
  • Colorado State University
  • Montana State University
  • UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, San Diego State University
  • National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • National Science Foundation
  • Meg and Bert Raynes Fund, Jackson, WY


Teaching and EducationHolly, Hummingbird field work

Courses: Graduate student courses developed and taught:

  • University of Wyoming:Conservation Genomics: 3 sections: Graduate Seminar, “Coffee Break Cons Gen”, and Cons Gen Term Project Team. (2016-present during Fall semester)
  • University of Wyoming: Disease Ecology (2016-present)
  • University of California Davis: Ecological Genetics and Genomics: ECL242 / PHR242
  • University of California Davis: Landscape Genetics with GIS (with Dr. Karen Beardsley): PHR298
  • University of California Davis: Population Genetics Data Analysis and Software: ECL290 taught periodicall
  • University of California Davis: Molecular Markers for Ecology, Conservation, and Wildlife Population Health: ECL290
  • University of California Davis: 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)

  • 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 (current list of active memberships)

Holly Fine Scale Hummingbird Health WorkCurrent Projects

Professional Societies and Memberships

Master Bird Bander Federal U.S. permit (Hummingbirds)

ContactHolly in Pinedale, WY

Mailing address: Department of Veterinary Sciences, 1074 Snowy Range Road, Laramie Wyoming, 82070

Office Phone: (307) 766-6605