Mark A. McPeek
David T. McLaughlin Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences
B.S., University of Kentucky, 1982
M.S., University of Kentucky, 1984
Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1989
I am an ecologist and evolutionary biologist. I use both empirical and theoretical approaches to understand the ecological processes that determine the distributions and abundances of organisms today, and that shaped the adaptation and diversification of these organisms in the past. In these combined studies I try to integrate ideas, data and approaches from a number of disciplines, including population and community ecology, population genetics, molecular systematics, comparative biology, macroevolution and paleontology.
My specific focus is to understand how communities of organisms are assembled and structured across the landscape. We usually attempt to understand the structure of natural communities by studying the dynamics of multispecies interactions. While the dynamics of multispecies interactions define the proximate mechanisms structuring species assemblages existing today, evolutionary and biogeographic processes operating in component taxa also substantially influence the assembly and organization of ecological communities. I believe a complete understanding of the processes structuring communities requires the integration of mechanistic studies of species interactions to identify critical structural linkages and species dynamics, microevolutionary and macroevolutionary studies of component taxa to explore how community structure may have developed via taxon adaptation and diversification, and biogeographic studies of community structure to investigate how changes in major environmental parameters (e.g., climate, geology) can influence community development and organization.
I am the David T. McLaughlin Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth. I teach undergraduate and graduate classes in many topics concerning ecology, evolution, behavior, statistics and modeling. I also supervise undergraduate and graduate students in research projects in many areas of inquiry. My own research explores how evolutionary adaptation and diversification shape the biological communities. I also served five years as Department Chair.
I was formerly the Editor-in-Chief of the American Naturalist, one of the premier scientific journals of ecology, evolution and behavior. I am a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Ecological Society of America. I have served as President, Vice-President and Treasurer of the American Society of Naturalists (America's oldest scientific society dedicated to the study of ecology, evolution, and behavior), and a member of the Ecological Society of American, the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Dragonfly Society of the Americas. I am a past winner of both the George Mercer Award and the William S. Cooper Award from the Ecological Society of America, and I was awarded the President's Citation from the American Institute of Biological Sciences. I am also a past winner of the Class of 1962 Faculty Fellowship for "demonstrated excellence in undergraduate teaching" at Dartmouth.