Department Directory


Department Chair: Ingrid Parker Department Manager: Jacqueline Rose
Graduate Adviser: Sarah Arantza Amador Administraive Assistant: Stephanie Zakarian
Undergraduate Adviser: Karina Frazier Undergraduate Adviser: Bee Vadakan
Biology Teaching Laboratory and Facilities Support Technician: Nicole Hack
Department Office: (831) 459-5358 Administrative Office: CBB, Room 207, 209


John N Thompson
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Physical & Biological Sciences
  • Department
    • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • 278 Coastal Biology Building
  • Mail Stop CBB/EE Biology
  • Mailing Address
    • 130 McAllister Way, CBB-EEB
    • Santa Cruz CA 95060

Research Interests

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.

Biography, Education and Training

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