Photo of John Damuth

John Damuth

Research Biologist
4107 Life Sciences


  • 1974; B.A. Anthropology; Yale University, New Haven Connecticut
  • 1976; S.M. Evolutionary Biology; University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1982; Ph.D Evolutionary Biology; University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Current Appointment: Research Biologist (research faculty appointment at full Professor level), Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara


I am an ecologist, evolutionary biologist, and vertebrate paleontologist. My research investigates the ways in which our knowledge of the ecology and evolutionary biology of extant organisms can be applied to understand long-term and large-scale evolution, primarily of terrestrial vertebrates. It is a synthetic research program that integrates a variety of areas of neontology and the Cenozoic record of fossil mammals, as well as the conceptual basis for explaining long-term evolutionary processes. My research has contributed to our understanding of the size-scaling of organismal abundance and population energy-use, the analysis of multilevel selection, the interplay between global climate change and the structure of mammal faunas worldwide during the Cenozoic, the paleobiology of extinct herbivores, and the nature of general processes that can underlie ecological and evolutionary “laws” observable on large scales.

Areas of Research

  • Allometry and scaling, ecological correlates of body size
  • Evolutionary theory — particularly, mechanisms of long-term evolutionary change and of multilevel selection; non-adaptive selection processes
  • Ecological aspects of “macroevolution” and evolutionary aspects of “macroecology”
  • Structure and evolution of mammal communities; analysis and reconstruction of vertebrate paleocommunities
  • Ecology and functional morphology of living and fossil mammalian herbivores