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Jean-Philippe Lessard

Professor, Biology

Jean-Philippe Lessard
Holding a tray full of ants - our favourite study organism
photo @ Lisa Graves


PhD (University of Tennessee)
Postdoctoral Fellow (U. Copenhagen - Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate)
Postdoctoral Fellow (McGill University - Quebec Center for Biodiversity Sciences)

Research interests

Our lab works toward elucidating the ecological and evolutionary drivers of biological diversity on Earth. We borrow concepts and tools from community ecology and biogeography to try and gain a mechanistic understanding of the emergence, distribution and maintenance of diversity. To accomplish this, we conduct observational and experimental field studies and compile comprehensive databases on the distributions, ecological characteristics and evolutionary history of species.

Teaching activities


BIOL 353  Communities and Ecosystems
BIOL 451  Field Ecology

Selected publications (*indicates students from the lab)

Usui T, Lerner D, Eckert I, Angert AL, Garroway CJ, Hargreaves A, Lancaster LT, Lessard JP, Riva F, Schmidt C, van der Burg K, Marshall K. The evolution of plasticity at geographic range edges. Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Ibarra-Isassi J*, Handa IT, Lessard JP. Community-wide trait adaptation, but not plasticity, explain ant community structure in extreme environments. Functional Ecology 37: 139–149.

Gibb H, Bishop TR, Leahy L, Parr CL, Lessard JP, Sanders NJ, Shik JZ, Ibarra-Isassi J, Narendra A, Dunn RR, Wright IJ. Ecological strategies of pl(ant)s: toward a world-wide worker economic spectrum for ants. Functional Ecology 37: 13–25.

Marjakangas EL, Muñoz G*, Turney S*, Albrecht J, Neuschulz EL, Schleuning M, Lessard JP (2022). Trait-based inference of ecological network assembly: a conceptual framework and methodological toolbox. Ecological Monographs.

La Richelière F*, Muñoz G*, Guénard B, Dunn RR, Economo E, Powell S, Sanders NJ, Weiser MD, Abouheif E, Lessard JP (2022). Warm regions of the world are hotspots of superorganism complexity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 289: 20211899. 

Hebert K*, Millien V, Lessard JP. (2021) Source pool diversity and proximity shape the compositional uniqueness of insular mammal assemblages worldwide. Journal of Biogeography 48: 2337-2349.

Ibarra-Isassi J*, Handa IT, Arenas-Clavijo A, Escobar-Ramirez S, Armbrecht I, Lessard JP. (2021) Shade-growing practices lessen the impact of coffee plantations on multiple dimensions of ant diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology 58: 919– 930. 

LoScerbo D*, Farrell MJ, Arrowsmith J, Mlynarek J, Lessard JP. (2020) Phylogenetically conserved host traits and local abiotic conditions jointly drive the geography of parasite intensity. Functional Ecology 34:2477–2487.  

Lessard JP. (2019) Ant community response to disturbance: a global synthesis. Journal of Animal Ecology 88:346-349 

Beaudrot L., Acevedo M., Lessard J.P., Zvoleff A., Jansen P.A., Fletcher C., Larney E., O’Brien T., Rovero F., Sheil D., Andelman S. and J. Ahumada. (2019) ​Local temperature and ecological similarity drive distributional dynamics of tropical mammals worldwide. Global Ecology and Biogeography

Lessard JP, Weinstein B, Borregaard MK, Marske KA, Rojas, D, McGuire JA, Parra JL, Rahbek C, Graham CH. (2016) Process-based species pools reveal the hidden signature of biotic interactions amid the influence of temperature filtering. The American Naturalist 187: 75-88

Holt B, Lessard JP, Borregaard MK, Fritz SA, Araújo MB, Dimitrov DD, Fabre PH, Graham CH, Graves GR, Jønsson KA, Nogués-Bravo D, Wang Z, Whittaker RJ, Fjeldså J, Rahbek C. (2013) An update of Wallace's zoogeographic regions of the world. Science 339:74-78

Lessard JP, Belmaker J, Myers JA, Chase JM, Rahbek C. (2012) Inferring local ecological processes amid species pool influences.  
Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27: 600-607

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