Jonathan Losos

Professor of Biology
William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professor
PhD, University of California, Berkeley

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • CB 1137
  • One Brookings Dr.
  • St. Louis, MO 63130
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Professor Jonathan Losos is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of evolutionary biology.

In partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Zoo, Losos leads the Living Earth Collaborative, an academic center dedicated to advancing the study of biodiversity. The Living Earth Collaborative serves as a hub to facilitate interdisciplinary research among plant and animal biologists and other scholars across a wide range of fields, bringing together the world’s leading scholars in the field of biodiversity to address the most pressing issue facing humankind today — the ability to sustain life on Earth. 

Within the biology department at Washington University, the primary focus of the Losos Lab is on the behavioral and evolutionary ecology of lizards and the study of evolutionary adaptation of wild species to urban habitats. Major questions concern how lizards interact with their environment and how lizard clades have diversified evolutionarily. Addressing such questions requires integration of behavioral, ecological, functional morphological, and phylogenetic studies. A major focus has been the evolutionary radiation of Caribbean Anolis lizards, but other lizard radiations are also being studied. A newly-developing line of research concerns whether and how species are adapting to urban environments.

Prior to joining the Washington University faculty in 2018, Losos served as the Lehner Professor for the Study of Latin America, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, and curator in herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.

Selected Publications

Complete publication list

Helmus, M.R., D.L. Mahler, and J.B. Losos. 2014. Island biogeography of the Anthropocene. Nature 513:543-546.

Stuart, Y.E., T.S. Campbell, P.A. Hohenlohe, R.G. Reynolds, L.J. Revell, and J.B. Losos. 2014. Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener. Science 346:463-466.

Sherratt, E., M.d.R., Castañeda, R. Garwood, D.L. Mahler, T.J. Sanger, A. Herrel,K. de Queiroz, and J.B. Losos. 2015. Amber fossils demonstrate deep-time stability of Caribbean lizard communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112:9961-9966.

Stroud, J.T., and J.B. Losos. 2016. Ecological opportunity and adaptive radiation. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 47:507-532.

Kamath, A., and J.B. Losos. 2017. Does ecological specialization transcend scale? Habitat partitioning among individuals and species of Anolis lizards. Evolution 71:541-549.

Muñoz, M.M., and J.B. Losos. In press. Thermoregulatory behavior simultaneously promotes and forestalls evolution in a tropical lizard. American Naturalist 191:E15-E26.