Dylan H. Morris

Postdoctoral Researcher, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology



I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at UCLA in the lab of Jamie Lloyd-Smith. I obtained my PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University, where I was advised by Simon A. Levin. My principal research interests are mathematical biology and eco-evolutionary dynamics. In particular, I use mathematical models to study how the evolution of RNA viruses is shaped by ecological processes within and between hosts. Additional interests include developing Bayesian statistical methods for ecology and evolution research, and studying the historical contingency – or directedness – of adaptive evolution.


  • Mathematical biology
  • Virus ecology and evolution
  • Population genetics
  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics
  • Zoonotic disease emergence
  • Bayesian methods in ecology and evolution


  • PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2020

    Princeton University

  • MPhil Applied Biological Anthropology, 2014

    University of Cambridge

  • BA Ethics, Politics, & Economics, 2011

    Yale University

Recent Posts

SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted by aerosols

How we know and why we should have known sooner

The dangers of seeking false certainty

I recently posted a thread on twitter about virus decay. In it, I explained that it’s a bit misleading to think about SARS-CoV-2 “surviving on plastic for 3 days” because the virus decays exponentially: if you start out with more virus, you’ll have detectable virus around for longer.

SARS-CoV-2 is mutating; here's what that means

You’ve probably seen a lot of headlines like this one from the New York Daily News: “Coronavirus is mutating and now has eight strains: doctors”. These headlines are sensationalist and irresponsible.

Is COVID-19 "airborne"?

Update 2020-09-26: A more recent post about the importance of aerosols is available here. The text below remains accurate. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 has a transmissibility well below that of measles, and ventilation and PPE are key.

The risks of (mis)timing an exponential

A minimal mathematical model of the problems involved in attempting to enact an optimally-timed, short-lived disease control effort

Recent Publications

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Optimal, near-optimal, and robust epidemic control

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for control measures that reduce the epidemic peak (“flattening the curve”). Here we …

Wild hummingbirds discriminate non-spectral colors

Many animals have the potential to discriminate colors absent from the rainbow: the non-spectral colors. Purple is the only such color …

Predictive modeling of influenza shows the promise of applied evolutionary biology

Seasonal influenza is controlled through vaccination campaigns. Evolution of influenza virus antigens means that vaccines must be …


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