Dr. John Nason

Professor and Chair
Dr. John Nason

I am an evolutionary biologist who employs ecological and genetic approaches to infer evolutionary process. A unifying theme in my research is the use of molecular data to investigate of the factors influencing gene flow (or lack thereof) and their impacts on the structuring of genetic variation in plants and associated insects over a broad range of temporal and spatial scales. This theme is exemplified in our current research on figs-fig wasps, investigating geographic variation in mutualism "fitness" (seed and pollinator production) and how it is influenced by host population size, flowering phenology, and interactions with non-pollinating fig wasps, whose larvae parasitize fig fruit.

Five publications most closely related to current NSF-supported research

  • Adams, D. C., and J. D. Nason. 2018. A phylogenetic comparative method for evaluating trait coevolution across two phylogenies for sets of interacting species. Evolution 72: 234-243. 
  • Yu, H., J. D. Nason, L. Zhang, L. Zheng, W. Wu, X. Ge. 2015. De novo transcriptome sequencing in Ficus hirta Vahl. (Moraceae) to investigate gene regulation involved in the biosynthesis of pollinator attracting volatiles. Tree Genetics & Genomes 11:91.
  • Davis, D., D. D. Houston, and J. D. Nason. 2015. Transcriptome facilitated development of SNPs for the Sonoran Desert rock fig, Ficus petiolaris (Gunneridae: Moraceae). Applications in Plant Sciences 3(7):1500028.
  • Tian, W., J. D. Nason, C. A. Machado, L. Zheng, H. Yu, and F. Kjellberg. 2015. Lack of genetic isolation by distance, similar genetic structuring but different demographic histories in a fig-pollinating wasp mutualism. Molecular Ecology 24: 5976-5991.
  • Yu, H., and J. D. Nason. 2013. Nuclear and chloroplast DNA phylogeography of Ficus hirta: obligate pollination mutualism and constraints on range expansion in response to climate change. New Phytologist 197:276-289.

Five additional significant publications

  • Duthie, A. B., and J. D. Nason. 2016. Plant connectivity underlies plant-pollinator-exploiter distributions in Ficus petiolaris and associated pollinating and non-pollinating fig wasps. Oikos 125: 1597-1606.
  • Duthie, A. B., K. C. Abbott, and J. D. Nason. 2014. Trade-offs and coexistence: a lottery model applied to fig wasp communities. American Naturalist 183:826-841.
  • Dyer, R. J., J. D. Nason, and R. C. Garrick. 2010. Landscape modeling of gene flow: improved power using conditional genetic distance derived from the topology of population networks. Molecular Ecology 19:3748-3759.
  • Dyer, R. J., and J. D. Nason. 2004. Population graphs: the graph theoretic shape of genetic structure. Molecular Ecology 13:1713-1727.
  • Nason, J. D., E. A. Herre, and J. L. Hamrick. 1998. The breeding structure of a tropical keystone plant resource. Nature 391:685-687.

Synergistic Activities

(i) Study Abroad Courses

  • Research-oriented Study Abroad courses to Mexico and Belize: undergraduate (2007, 2008, 2015, 2016) and graduate (2008)

(ii) Increasing Participation of Under-represented Groups in Science

  • Mentoring of more than 50 undergraduate research assistants, including many females and students from underrepresented groups.

Professional Service

  • 2014-present: Review editor for Frontiers in Genetics
  • 2014-present: Review editor for Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
  • 2015-2016: Editorial Board of Scientific Reports
  • 2008-2017: Editor for Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
  • 2002-2005: Associate Editor for Evolution
Area of Expertise: 
Evolutionary Genomics
Ph.D., Botany/Plant Genetics, University of California, Riverside, 1991
B.S., Biology, University of Californis, Davis, 1985
251B Bessey