Scott C. Merrill

I am a Systems Ecologist with research spanning a wide range of both natural ecosystems and social-ecological systems. Projects include examining dynamics of change within pest-crop agroecosystems including aspects of climate change, examining ways to nudge human behavior to help protect the health of our livestock herds, and looking at factors motivating behavior that affects water quality in the Lake Champlain watershed. In the SEGS lab, I use experimental gaming as a novel technique for collecting data to examine decision making in social-ecological systems. An important goal of this work is the creation of applicable and predictive models to inform best management practices.


Research and/or Creative Works

Current and recently funded projects:

NSF EPSCoR. 2016-2021 Co-PI. Lake Champlain Basin Resilience to Extreme Events.

USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. 2015-2021 Co-PI. A human behavioral approach to reducing the impact of livestock pest or disease incursions of socio-economic importance.


Merrill, S. C., Koliba, C. J., Moegenburg, S., Zia, A., Parker, J., Sellnow, T., Wiltshire, S., Bucini, G., Danehy, C. and Smith, J. M. (2019) Decision-making in Livestock Biosecurity Practices amidst Environmental and Social Uncertainty: Evidence from an Experimental Game. Plos One. 14(4) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214500. 

Merrill, S. C., Moegenburg, S. M., Koliba, C. J., Zia, A., Trinity, L., Clark, E., Bucini, G., Wiltshire, S., Sellnow, T., Sellnow, D., and Smith, J. M. (2019) Willingness to comply with biosecurity in livestock facilities: evidence from experimental simulations. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Vol. 6 (156)

Bucini, G., Merrill, S.C., Clark, E., Moegenburg, S.M., Zia, A., Koliba, C.J., Wiltshire, S., Trinity, L. and Smith J. M. (2019). Risk Attitudes Affect Livestock Biosecurity Decisions With Ramifications for Disease Control in a Simulated Production System. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 6(196).

Wiltshire, S., Zia, A., Koliba, C., Bucini, G., Clark, E., Merrill, S.C., Moegenburg, S., and Smith, J. (2019) Network Meta-Metrics: Using Evolutionary Computation to Identify Effective Indicators of Epidemiological Vulnerability in a Livestock Production System Model. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. Vol. 22(2), pages 1-8.

Associations and Affiliations

Scott C. Merrill

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Systems ecology, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), social-ecological systems, Landscape ecology, serious games, experimental gaming, animal biosecurity, climate change, population modeling, Monte Carlo simulations, and spatiotemporal modeling.


  • Ph. D., Ecology, Colorado State University, 2007
  • B.S., Mathematics, University of Oregon, 1994
  • B.S., Psychology, University of Oregon, 1994


  • (802) 656-0711
Office Location:

217 Jeffords Hall

Office Hours:

By appointment

Courses Taught

HCOL 186 Ecological Gaming

PSS 381 Quantitative Thinking in Life Sciences