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  John N Thompson

John N Thompson

Distinquished Research Professor



Physical & Biological Sciences Division

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department

Distinquished Research Professor


Research Professor


CSC Coastal Biology Building
278 Coastal Biology Building

By appointment

CBB/EE Biology

B.A., Washington & Jefferson College, Pennsylvania
Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana

Coevolution of species; evolution and ecology of interactions among species; assembly and diversification of the web of life

Coevolution and the Organization of Biodiversity

Research in my laboratory is on the ways in which coevolution among species organizes the earth's biodiversity. The goal is to understand how the web of life is organized across broad geographic landscapes as species coevolve with each other within and across biological communities. Our work includes studies of species interactions in many types of environments, from relatively pristine landscapes to others that are becoming increasingly fragmented and modified by introduced taxa. We use a wide range of ecological, genetic, molecular, and evolutionary approaches to study how the interacting species may coevolve in different ways in different habitats, and how interactions continue to evolve amid environmental change.

We are currently evaluating the geographic structure and evolutionary dynamics of a variety of species interactions distributed throughout western North America, including those between plants and their pollinators and herbivores. We are asking how interacting species differ in local adaptation, how local coevolutionary hotspots shape the overall genetic structure and evolutionary trajectories of interactions, and how the evolution of polyploidy in plant populations leads to the diversification of plant species and interactions with other taxa.

Darwin-Wallace Medal for Major Contributions to Evolutionary Biology, Linnean Society, 

Per Brinck Oikos Award for Contributions to the Science of Ecology

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences

Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters


Past President, American Society of Naturalists


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