Dr. John Wiens

Positions and Education: 
  • Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2013–present
  • Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, 2006–2012
  • Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, 2002–2006
  • Associate Curator, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 2000–2002
  • ŸAssistant Curator, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 1995–2000
  • ŸPh.D., Zoology, University of Texas at Austin, 1995
  • ŸB.S., Systematics and Ecology, University of Kansas, 1991 (summa cum laude)
Honors and Awards: 
  • President’s Award, American Society of Naturalists, 2011 (for outstanding paper published in the American Naturalist in 2010) for Kozak and Wiens 2010
  • BIOS Distinguished Lecturer, Univ. Nevada-Las Vegas, 2009
  • Kirschner Lecture, Department of Zoology, Washington State University, 2008
  • Elected to Council, Society of Systematic Biologists (2003–2005)
  • Elected to Board of Governors, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (2003-2008)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship 1991
  • ŸOutstanding Senior Honors Thesis in Biology, Univ. Kansas, 1991
Editorial Work: 
  • Editor-in-Chief, Quarterly Review of Biology,  2007–2010
  • ŸEditor, Quarterly Review of Biology,  2006–2007, 2010–present
  • ŸAssociate Editor, Ecology Letters, 2009–present
  • ŸAssociate Editor, BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2011–present
  • ŸAssociate Editor, Ecography, 2007–2009
  • ŸAssociate Editor, American Naturalist, 2005–2009
  • ŸAssociate Editor, Evolution, 2001–2003
  • ŸAssociate Editor, Systematic Biology, 1996–2000
  • ŸAssociate Editor, Herpetologica, 1996–2000
  • ŸEditorial Board, PLoS Currents: Tree of Life, 2010–present
  • ŸEditorial Board, Journal of Herpetology, 2001–present
  • ŸEditorial Board, Copeia, 1999–2008 
  • Editorial Board, Systematic Biology, 1995–1996
Research Interests: 

Research in Wiens’ lab  has three main areas: (1) using an integrative phylogenetic approach to address general conceptual questions in evolutionary biology and ecology, (2) the theory and methods of phylogenetics, and (3) the phylogeny, evolution, and ecology of reptiles and amphibians. Within these general areas, we address a variety of specific topics, including species richness patterns, speciation, niche evolution and conservatism, life-history evolution, adaptive radiation, ecological diversification, rates and patterns of morphological change, phylogenomics, and responses of species to climate change.  We combine collection and analysis of genetic, morphological, ecological, and physiological data (in the lab and field) with bioinformatic, computational, and theoretical approaches.

Selected Publications: 

1. Wiens, J. J., K. H. Kozak, and N. Silva. 2013. Diversity and niche evolution along aridity gradients in North American lizards (Phrynosomatidae). Evolution (in press).

2. Cahill, A.E., M. E. Aiello-Lammens, M. C. Fisher-Reid, X. Hua, C. J. Karanewsky, H. Y. Ryu, G. C. Sbeglia, F. Spagnolo, J. B. Waldron, O. Warsi, and J. J. Wiens. 2013. How does climate change cause extinction? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 280:20121890.

3. Gomez-Mestre, I., R. A. Pyron, and J. J. Wiens. 2012. Phylogenetic analyses reveal unexpected patterns in the evolution of reproductive modes in frogs. Evolution 66:3687–3700.

4. Fisher-Reid, M.C., K. H. Kozak, and J. J. Wiens. 2012. How is the rate of climatic-niche evolution related to climatic-niche breadth? Evolution 66:3836–3851.

5. Wiens, J. J., C. R. Hutter, D. G. Mulcahy, B. P. Noonan, T. M. Townsend, J. W. Sites, Jr., and T. W. Reeder. 2012. Resolving the phylogeny of lizards and snakes (Squamata) with extensive sampling of genes and species. Biology Letters 6:1043–1046.  

6. Carrete-Vega, G., and J. J. Wiens. 2012. Why are there so few fish in the sea? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 279:2323–2329.  

7. Wiens, J. J., R. A. Pyron, and D. S. Moen. 2011.  Phylogenetic origins of local-scale diversity patterns and the causes of Amazonian megadiversity. Ecology Letters 14:643–652.  

8. Wiens, J. J.  2011.  Re-evolution of lost mandibular teeth in frogs after more than 200 million years, and re-evaluating of Dollo’s law. Evolution 65:1283–1296. 

9. Wiens, J. J., C. A. Kuczynski,T. Townsend, T. W. Reeder, D. G. Mulcahy, and J. W. Sites, Jr. 2010. Combining phylogenomics and fossils in higher level squamate reptile phylogeny: molecular data change the placement of fossil taxa.  Systematic Biology 59:674–688. 

10. Kozak, K. H., and J. J. Wiens. 2010. Niche conservatism drives elevational diversity patterns in Appalachian salamanders. American Naturalist 176:40–54. 

11. Wiens, J. J., D. D. Ackerly, A. P. Allen, B. L. Anacker, L. B. Buckley, H. V. Cornell, E. I. Damschen, T. J. Davies, J. A. Grytnes, S. P. Harrison, B. A. Hawkins, R. D. Holt, C. M. McCain, and P. R. Stephens. 2010. Niche conservatism as an emerging principle in ecology and conservation biology. Ecology Letters 13:1310–1324.

12. Kozak, K. H., and J. J. Wiens. 2010. Accelerated rates of climatic niche evolution underlie rapid species diversification. Ecology Letters 13:1378–1389.

13. Wiens, J. J., G. Parra-Olea, M. Garcia-Paris, and D. B. Wake.  2007.  Phylogenetic history underlies elevational patterns of biodiversity in tropical salamanders.  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 274:919–928.

14. Wiens, J. J., C. H. Graham, D. S. Moen, S. A. Smith, and T. W. Reeder.  2006.  Evolutionary and ecological causes of the latitudinal diversity gradient in hylid frogs: treefrog trees unearth the roots of high tropical diversity. American Naturalist 168:579-596.

15. Wiens, J. J., M. C. Brandley, and T. W. Reeder.  2006.  Why does a trait evolve multiple times within a clade?  Repeated evolution of snake-like body form in squamate reptiles.  Evolution 61:123–141.

16. Wiens, J. J. and C. H. Graham.  2005.  Niche conservatism: integrating evolution, ecology, and conservation biology. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 36:519–539.

17. Wiens, J. J., and M. J. Donoghue.  2004.  Historical biogeography, ecology, and species richness.  Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:639–644.

18. Wiens, J. J.  2003.  Missing data, incomplete taxa, and phylogenetic accuracy. Systematic Biology 52:528–538.

Contact Information

Lab Phone: 
(520) 621-9765
Office Phone: 
(520) 621-0337
Office Location: 
Lab Location: 
136 and 138