Maxwell J. Farrell
Ph.D. Biology (McGill)
maxwellfarrell _ at _

I am a biologist, musician, and visual artist. I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Odum School of Ecology. Here you can find information about some of my research interests and ongoing projects.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or are interested in working together.


I am interested in the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. By employing theory and tools from macroecology, computational statistics, and biodiversity genomics I hope my work can aid programs aimed at reducing the burden of infectious diseases in humans, wildlife, and domesticated animals.

Under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Davies I developed approaches for documenting and predicting host-parasite interactions, and worked to better understand how the number and types of hosts used by a parasite impacts conservation and ecosystem health.

Previously I have studied the role of anthropogentic disturbance on native and invasive species in the St. Lawrence River, Québec, and the impacts of invasive predators in the Lake Victoria basin, East Africa.

Funding Sources

Throughought my studies I have been fortunate to be funded by scholarships and grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Vanier Canada Graduate Program, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Systems Biology Training Program, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, and the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science


Farrell, M.J. & Davies, T.J. (2018), Disease mortality in domesticated animals is predicted by host evolutionary relationships (in review) bioRxiv preprint: doi:10.1101/438226

Farrell, M.J., Govender, D., Hajibabaei, M., Berrang-Ford, L., van der Bank, M., Davies, T.J. (2018), Bacterial diversity in the waterholes of the Kruger National Park: an eDNA metabarcoding approach. Genome (in press) doi:10.1139/gen-2018-0064

Dallas, T., Gehman, A.L., Aguirre, A.A., Budischak, S.A., Drake, J.M, Farrell, M.J., Ghai, R., Huang, S., Morales-Castilla, I. (2018), Contrasting latitudinal gradients of body size in helminth parasites and their hosts Global Ecology & Biogeography (in press)

Pearse, W.D, Morales-Castilla, I., James, L.S., Farrell, M.J., Boivin, F., Davies, T.J. (2018), Complexity is complicated and so too is comparing complexity metrics—a response to Mikula et al. Evolution, 72: 2836-2838. doi:10.1111/evo.1363672

Dallas, T., Gehman A.L., Farrell, M.J. (2018), Variable bibliographic database access could limit reproducibility. BioScience. 68 (8), 552-553

Park, A.W., Farrell, M.J., Schmidt, J.P., Huang, S., Dallas, T.A., Pappalardo, P., Drake, J.M., Stephens, P.R., Poulin, R., Nunn, C.L., Davies, T.J. (2018), Characterizing the phylogenetic specialism–generalism spectrum of mammal parasites. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 285:1874, doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.2613

Pearse, W.D, Morales-Castilla, I., James, L.S., Farrell, M.J., Boivin, F., Davies, T.J. (2018), Global macroevolution and macroecology of passerine song.

Perrault, N.*, Farrell, M.J.*, Davies, T.J. (2017), Tongues on the EDGE: language preservation priorities based on threat and lexical distinctiveness R. Soc. open sci. 4:171218; doi: 10.1098/rsos.171218. *Authors contributed equally

Elmasri, M., Farrell, M.J., Stephens, D.A. (2017), A hierarchical Bayesian model for predicting ecological interactions using evolutionary relationships. preprint arXiv:1707.08354 (In Review)

Stephens, P. R., Pappalardo, P., Huang, S., Byers, J. E., Farrell, M.J., Gehman, A., Ghai, R. R., Haas, S. E., Han, B., Park, A. W., Schmidt, J. P., Altizer, S., Ezenwa, V. O. and Nunn, C. L. (2017), Global Mammal Parasite Database version 2.0. Ecology doi: 10.1002/ecy.1799

Stephens, P.R., Altizer, S., Smith, K.F., Aguirre, A.A., Brown, J.H., Budischak, S.A., Byers, J.E., Dallas, T.A., Davies, T.J., Drake, J.M., Ezenwa, V.O., Farrell, M.J., Gittleman, J.L., Han, B.A., Huang, S., Hutchinson, R.A., Johnson, P., Nunn, C.L., Onstad, D., Park, A., Vazquez-Prokopec, G.M., Schmidt, J.P., Poulin, R. (2016), The macroecology of infectious diseases: a new perspective on global-scale drivers of pathogen distributions and impacts Ecology Letters doi: 10.1111/ele.12644

Farrell, M.J., Stephens, P.R., Davies, T.J. (2016), Response to Strona & Fattorini: Are generalist parasites being lost from their hosts? Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12470

Farrell, M.J., Stephens, P.R., Berrang-Ford, L., Gittleman, J.L., Davies, T.J. (2015), The path to host extinction can lead to loss of generalist parasites. Journal of Animal Ecology. 84: 978–984. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12342

Farrell, M.J., Berrang-Ford, L., Davies, T.J. (2013), The study of parasite sharing for surveillance of zoonotic disease. Environmental Research Letters 8 (1), 015036. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/015036

Reid, A.J., Farrell, M.J., Luke, M.N. and Chapman, L.J. (2013), Implications of hypoxia tolerance for wetland refugia use in Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 22 (3) 421-429


One of my projects involves camera trapping at artificial watering holes in Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Here are a few of the highlights from the 2015 season.


During my time in Montreal I have been fortunate enough to play in a variety of musical groups. Here are links to a few of the projects I've been involved with.

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Year of Glad

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Dam Ships

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Oh Hi

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Camp Fortune

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Adrian Underhill

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Folly & The Hunter

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Montreal Song Project

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Fuchsia Band


Maxwell J. Farrell
Odum School of Ecology, Room 194
140 E Green St.
Athens, GA 30602
maxwellfarrell _ at _