• Carnell Professor
  • Director, Biodiversity
  • Ecology and Integrative Biology
  • Ph.D.
  • Department of Biology
  • Temple University

S. Blair Hedges


Our research explores connections between biological evolution and Earth history in all organisms and time periods. Because time itself is of great utility in drawing these connections, we often use molecular clocks in combination with morphology, phylogeny, geology, and the fossil record to uncover historical patterns and reveal the mechanisms of change. We study, among other topics, speciation, adaptive radiation, lineage diversification, historical biogeography, and mass extinction. Of particular interest are global changes in the planetary environment such as continental breakup, climate change, and extraterrestrial impacts, and their effect on the evolution of life. Research topics in the lab have included the early evolution of life, vertebrate evolution, historical biogeography, primate evolution, and biodiversity & conservation. A large component of our work is computational (bioinformatics), involving the analysis of sequence data from many genes or complete genomes. Another component involves field work and collection of new DNA sequences as needed for particular questions. This laboratory is part of NASA's Astrobiology Institute.