Jonathan N. Pruitt

Associate Professor
(805) 893-4519
2124 Noble Hall
Pruitt Lab


Jonathan Pruitt performed his graduate studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville under the direction of Susan Riechert. He then conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Davis with Andy Sih and Jay Stachowicz. He joined EEMB in 2016.


The Pruitt Lab's research explores the ecological consequences of individual variation in behavior for individuals, populations, and communities. We use a variety of invertebrate models, especially social spiders, to address these topics. More deeply, our research considers the role of individual variation in structuring patterns of task allocation within societies and how these patterns impact the long-term performance of groups in contrasting environments. In non-social systems, we consider how variation in behavior impacts species interactions within and across trophic levels. These studies have been conducted in a variety of both terrestrial and marine systems.

Selected Publications

  • Pruitt JN, Wright CM, Keiser CN, DeMarco A, Grobis MM, Pinter-Wollman N (2016) The Achilles Heel Hypothesis: misinformed keystone individuals impair collective learning and reduce group success. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283: 20152888
  • Royaute R, Pruitt JN (2015) Varying predator personalities generates contrasting prey Communities in an agroecosystem. Ecology 96: 2902–2911
  • Pruitt JN, Modlmeier AP (2015) Animal personality in a foundation species drives community divergence and collapse in the wild. Journal of Animal Ecology 84:1461-1468
  • Keiser CN, Pruitt JN (2014) Personality composition is more important than group size in determining collective foraging behavior in the wild. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281:20141424
  • Pruitt JN, Goodnight CJ (2014) Site-specific group selection drives locally adapted group compositions. Nature 514: 359-362
  • Wright CM, Holbrook CT, Pruitt JN (2014) Animal personality aligns task specialization and task efficiency in a spider society. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 9533–9537.