Gund Fellow, Research Associate Professor, Department of Plant and Soil Science

Dr. Scott Merrill is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science, a Gund Fellow at the Gund Institute for Environment and the Managing Director of the Social Ecological Gaming and Simulation (SEGS) laboratory at the University of Vermont. Merrill is a systems ecologist specializing in the study of human behavior and decision-making in social-ecological systems. Merrill uses a broad range of tools to collect both qualitative and quantitative data, such as serious games, surveys, and focus groups, and uses a variety of statistical tools to analyze and extend inference using these data; tools ranging from simple mixed effects modeling to complex systems modeling such as agent-based modeling. Merrill collaborates with numerous interdisciplinary research groups and collaborators in the development of serious games to collect data used to understand human behavior and decision making. Serious games are a novel, and vastly under-utilized tool to study social-ecological systems. An important goal of his work has always been the creation of applicable and predictive models to inform policy interventions, develop decision support systems and suggest best management practices.



  • Deutsch, C.A., J.J. Tewksbury, M. Tigchelaar, D.S. Battisti, S.C. Merrill, R.B. Huey, Naylor, R.L. (2018) Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate. Science 361 (6405), 916-919 10.1073/pnas.0709472105
  • Anderzén, J., Guzmán Luna, A., Luna-González, D.V., Merrill, S.C., Caswell, M., Méndez, V.E., Hernández Jonapá, R., & Mier y Terán Giménez Cacho, M. (2020). Effects of on-farm diversification strategies on smallholder coffee farmer food security and income sufficiency in Chiapas, Mexico. Journal of Rural Studies 77 33-46. 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.04.001.
  • Merrill, S.C., T.O. Holtzer, F.B. Peairs, P.J. Lester (2009) Modeling spatial variation of Russian wheat aphid overwintering population densities in Colorado winter wheat
    Journal of Economic Entomology 102 (2), 533-541
  • Schattman, R.E., Méndez, V.E., Merrill, S.C., Zia, A. (2018) Mixed methods approach to understanding farmer and agricultural advisor perceptions of climate change and adaptation in Vermont, United States Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 42 (2), 121-148
  • Merrill, S. C., C. J. Koliba, S. Moegenburg, A. Zia, J. Parker, T. Sellnow, S. Wiltshire, G. Bucini, C.  Danehy, and J. M.  Smith (2019) Decision-making in Livestock Biosecurity Practices amidst Environmental and Social Uncertainty: Evidence from an Experimental Game, Plos One, 14.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Landscape ecology, climate change, population modeling, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), social-ecological systems, Monte Carlo simulations, systems ecology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and spatiotemporal modeling.


  • PhD, Ecology, Colorado State University
  • BS, Mathematics, University of Oregon
  • BS, Psychology, University of Oregon


  • 802-656-0711
Office Location:

217 Jeffords, UVM

  1. Personal website