Dr. Erin Lehmer

Dr. Erin Lehmer
Professor of Biology


  • Wildlife
  • Physiological ecology
  • Disease ecology
  • Infectious disease
  • Ecological immunology
  • Mammalogy


  • Ph.D., Zoology, Colorado State University, 2004
  • M.S., Zoology, Colorado State University, 2000
  • B.S., Biology, Fort Lewis College, 1997


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About Dr. Erin Lehmer

Erin Lehmer is a professor in the Biology department at Fort Lewis College. She joined the college in 2007. Dr. Lehmer’s research focuses on understanding physiological processes of wild animals in their natural environments. Specifically, she studies wildlife disease and the response of wildlife to environmental stressors. Dr. Lehmer and her students are currently researching White-Nose Syndrome in migratory and resident bat populations in Colorado in collaboration with Colorado Parks & Wildlife. She has also researched the transmission dynamics of Sin Nombre virus, a hantavirus common in the southwestern U.S., as well as hibernation physiology and ecology in marmots and prairie dogs in the Rocky Mountain region. Her work has been supported by organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Fort Lewis College. Dr. Lehmer has advised Fort Lewis student researchers under the NSF Four Corners STEM Success program and the NIH Minority Access to Research Careers program. She has also mentored a number of students in research funded by the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. Prior to joining the faculty at Fort Lewis, Dr. Lehmer was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Utah, studying the dynamics of Sin Nombre virus in natural host systems, and completed a NIH Postdoctoral Training Fellowship in Microbial Pathogenesis.

Dr. Lehmer was the 2012-2013 Fort Lewis College Featured Scholar and the 2009 recipient of the New Faculty Teaching Award. She is the faculty sponsor for the FLC chapters of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science and the Tri Beta National Biological Honor Society. Dr. Lehmer is a member of several professional associations, including the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology, the American Society of Mammalogists and the Sigma Xi Scientific Honor Society. She is an associate editor for Western North American Naturalist and has served as a reviewer for numerous journals, including Bios, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, International Journal of Infectious Diseases and Journal of Mammalogy.

In the Media

Taking a close look at Mexican free-tailed bats
White nose syndrome is a disease that threatens the future of many bat species nationwide.  Which is why Fort Lewis College Biology professors Steve Fenster and Erin Lehmer spent time last summer at an abandoned mine in the San Luis Valley. Read more and view the video.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Roles of Community Diversity and Contact Rates on Pathogen Prevalence,” Journal of Mammalogy, 2015

“Why is the Four Corners a Hot Spot for Hantavirus?” Bios, 2013

“How Can Hantaviruses Kill Humans but Leave Mice Unaffected: An Evaluation of the Immune Response of Deer Mice to Sin Nombre Virus, Bios, 2012

“The Interplay of Plant and Animal Disease in a Changing Landscape: The Role of Sudden Aspen Death in Moderating Sin Nombre Virus Prevalence in Natural Deer Mouse Populations,” EcoHealth, 2012

Long-Term Patterns of Immune Investment in Wild Deer Mice Infected with Sin Nombre Virus”,   Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 2010

“Evaluating the Habitat Suitability of Non-Traditional Habitats for Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)”The Prairie Naturalist, 2010

Roles of human disturbance, precipitation, and a pathogen on the survival and reproductive probabilities of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus),” , Ecology, 2010

“Contact heterogeneity in deer mice:  implications for Sin Nombre virus transmission”, proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 2010

Testing mechanisms of the dilution effect:  Deer mice encounter rates, Sin Nombre virus prevalence and species diversity”, EcoHealth, 2009

Sin Nombre virus and rodent species diversity: a test of the dilution and amplification hypotheses”, PLOS One, 2009

The role of heterogeneity in the persistence and prevalence of Sin Nombre Virus in Deer Mice”, The American Naturalist, 2008

“Differential Regulation of Pathogens: The Roles of Habitat Structure and Density in Predicting Prevalence of Sin Nombre Hantavirus”, Oecologia, 2008

“Differential Resource Allocation of Deer Mice Exposed to Sin Nombre Virus”, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 2007