Jonathan B. Losos

Monique and Philip Lehner Professor for the Study of Latin America
Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Curator in Herpetology, Museum of Comparative Zoology

Phone: 617-495-9835
Office: 204 MCZ Labs
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Lab Website:

My research concerns the origin and maintenance of biological diversity: where do species come from, what directs the evolutionary course they take, and what ongoing ecological processes affect them today? To study such questions, my laboratory integrates approaches from systematics, ecology, behavior, genetics and functional morphology, taking both observational and experimental approaches in the field and in the laboratory. In many respects, lizards are ideal organisms for such synthetic studies.

See the new Howard Hughes Medical Institute short film on using anoles to study evolution:

Recent Publications

Kolbe, J. J., Leal, M., Schoener, T. W., Spiller, D. A., & Losos, J. B. 2012. Founder Effects Persist Despite Adaptive Differentiation: A Field Experiment with Lizards. Science 335: 1086–1089. doi:10.1126/science.1209566

Sanger, T.J., L.J. Revell, J.J. Gibson-Brown, and J.B. Losos. 2012. Repeated modification of early limb morphogenesis programs underlies the convergence of relative limb length in Anolis lizards. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 279: 739-748.

Eckalbar, W.L., E. Lasku, C.R. Infante, R.M. Elsey, G.J. Markov, A.N. Allen, J.J. Corneveaux, J.B. Losos, D.F. Denardo, M.J. Huentelman, J. Wilson-Rawls, A. Rawls, and K. Kusumi. 2012. Somitogenesis in the anole lizard and alligator reveals evolutionary convergence and divergence in the amniote segmentation clock. Developmental Biology 363: 308–319. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.11.021.

Herrel, A., M.D. Cottam, K. Godbeer, T. Sanger, and J.B. Losos. 2011. An ecomorphological analysis of native and introduced populations of the endemic lizard Anolis maynardi of the Cayman Islands. Breviora 522:1-10.

Ord, T.J., J.A. Stamps, and J.B. Losos. 2010. Adaptation and plasticity of animal communication in fluctuating environments. Evolution 64:3134-3148.

Losos, J.B. 2010. A Tale of two radiations: similarities and differences in the evolutionary diversification of Darwin’s finches and Greater Antillean Anolis lizards.  Pp. 309-331 in P.R. Grant and B.R. Grant, Eds., In search of the Causes of Evolution: From Field Observations to Mechanisms.  Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ.

Rodríguez Schettino, L., J.B. Losos, P.E. Hertz, K. de Queiroz, A.R. Chamizo, M. Leal, and V. Rivalta González. 2010. The anoles of Soroa: aspects of their ecological relationships.  Breviora 520: 1-22.

Mahler, D.L., L.J. Revell, R.E. Glor, and J.B. Losos. 2010. Ecological opportunity and the rate of morphological evolution in the diversification of Greater Antillean anoles. Evolution 64:2731-2745.

Harmon, L.J., J.B. Losos, T.J. Davies, R.G. Gillespie, J.L. Gittleman, W.B. Jennings, K.H. Kozak, M.A. McPeek, F. Moreno-Roarck, T.J. Near, A. Purvis, R.E. Ricklefs, D. Schluter, J.A. Schulte II, O. Seehausen, B.L. Sidlauskas, O. Torres-Carvajal, J.T. Weir, and A.Ø. Mooers. 2010. Early bursts of body size and shape evolution are rare in comparative data.  Evolution 64: 2385-2396.

Losos, J.B., and D.L. Mahler. 2010.   Adaptive Radiation: The Interaction of Ecological Opportunity, Adaptation, and Speciation. Pp. 381-420 in M.A. Bell, D.J. Futuyma, W.F. Eanes, and J.S. Levinton, Eds., Evolution Since Darwin: The First 150 Years. Sinauer Assoc.: Sunderland, MA.

Losos, J.B. 2010. Adaptive radiation, ecological opportunity, and evolutionary determinism.  American Naturalist 175: 623-639.

Johnson, M.A., L.J. Revell, and J.B. Losos. 2010. Behavioral convergence and adaptive radiation: effects of habitat use on territorial behavior in Anolis lizards. Evolution 64:1151-1159.

See complete publications list.

Courses Taught

Freshman Seminar 26g: Evolutionary Diversification and Adaptive Radiation: Anolis Lizards of the Caribbean
OEB 167: Herpetology
OEB 174r: Topics in Behavioral Ecology
OEB 222: The Ecology and Biogeography of Speciation
OEB 277: Adaptive Radiation
Science B-65: Evolution