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Jean-Philippe Lessard

Associate Professor, Biology

Concordia University Research Chair (2017-2022)

Jean-Philippe Lessard
Holding a tray full of pinned ants
Office: L-SP 437-09 
Richard J. Renaud Science Complex,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5184
Website(s): Visit our lab website


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

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

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. 

Balzani P, Vizzini S, Frizzi F, Masoni A, Lessard JP, Bernasconi C,  Francoeur A, Ibarra-Isassi J*, Brassard F*, Cherix D, Santini G. (2021) Plasticity in the trophic niche of an invasive ant may explain establishment success and long-term coexistence. Oikos 130: 691-696.

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.  

Brassard F*, Francoeur A, Lessard JP. (2020) Temperature drives caste-specific morphological clines in ants. Journal of Animal Ecology 89: 2517– 2530.

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

Jønsson KA, Lessard JP, Ricklefs RR. (2015) The evolution of morphological diversity in continental assemblages of passerine birds. Evolution 69: 879-889

Blonder B, Nogués-Bravo D, Borregaard MK, Donoghue J, Jørgensen PM, Kraft NJB, Lessard JP, Morueta-Holme N, Sandel B, Svenning JC, Violle C, Rahbek C, Enquist BJ. (2015) Linking environmental filtering and disequilibrium to biogeography with a community climate framework. Ecology 96:972-985

Fowler D, Lessard JP, Sanders NJ. (2014) Niche filtering rather than partitioning shapes the structure of temperate forest ant communities. Journal of Animal Ecology 83:943-952

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

Lessard JP, Borregard MK, Fordyce JA, Rahbek C, Weiser MD, Dunn RR, Sanders NJ. (2012) Strong influence of regional species pools on continent-wide structuring of local communities.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279: 266-274

Lessard JP, Sackett TE, Reynolds WN, Fowler DA§, Sanders NJ. (2011) Determinants of the detrital arthropod community structure: the effects of temperature, resources, and environmental gradients.
Oikos 120: 333-343

Lessard JP, Fordyce JM, Gotelli NJ, Sanders NJ. (2009) Invasive ants alter the phylogenetic structure of native communities.

Lessard JP, Dunn RR, Sanders NJ. (2009) Temperature-mediated coexistence in temperate forest ant communities. Insectes Sociaux 56: 149-156

Sanders NJ, Lessard JP, Dunn RR, Fitzpatrick MC. (2007) Temperature, but not productivity or geometry, predicts elevational diversity gradients in ants across spatial grains. Global Ecology and Biogeography 16: 640-649

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