About Jesus College/Our community/ People
Professor Rosemary Gillespie

Roles and subjects

Visiting Senior Research Fellow in Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity



Academic Background

  • BSc Hons, Zoology, 1980.
  • Edinburgh Univ. Advisor: N.P. Ashmole PhD, Zoology, 1986.
  • Univ of Tennessee. Advisor: S.E. Riechert St Andrews University, Scotland, Senior Global Fellow, 2023-2024.
  • International Biogeography Society, Distinguished Fellow, 2022.
  • Miller Professor, University of California at Berkeley, 2019-2020.
  • Wallace Award, International Biogeography Society, 2019.


For lifetime contributions in biogeography:

  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected member, 2018.
  • President, International Society for Arachnology (ISA), 2023.
  • President, American Genetics Association (AGA), 2016-2019.
  • President, International Biogeography Society (IBS), 2013-2015.
  • Board of Trustees, California Academy of Sciences, 2008-2017.
  • President, American Arachnological Society, 2007-201.1
  • Notable UTK Woman Award 2013 for outstanding accomplishments.
  • US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, 2005.
  • Regent’s Medal for Excellence in Research, Univ. Hawaii, 1999.
  • Entomologist of the Year, Hawaiian Entomological Society, 1999.
  • Fellow, Royal Entomological Society (UK), 2001-present.


Undergraduate and Postgraduate Teaching Areas

  • Biogeography
  • Island Biology
  • Spider Biology
  • Biodiversity
  • Speciation

Research Interests

My research seeks to understand processes underpinning the gain and loss of biodiversity, looking at both speciation and extinction of individual lineages as well as predictable changes in the assembly of entire biological communities. I use islands of known age and isolation and integrate molecular tools with morphological and ecological measurements to assess the combined temporal and spatial dimensions of diversification, adaptive radiation, and associated assembly dynamics with a focus on spiders and insects. Much of my work has focused on the Hawaiian Islands, where I study the evolution of arthropod communities across islands of different ages. I also work on the islands of French Polynesia and Micronesia.

Recent Publications

  • Gillespie, R.G., Bik, H.M., Hickerson, M.J., Krehenwinkel, H., Overcast, I., Rominger, J. 2023. Insights into Ecological & Evolutionary Processes via Community Metabarcoding. Molecular Ecology, in press.
  • Cerca, J., Cotoras, D., Santander, C., Bieker, V., Hutchins, L., Morin-Lagos, J., Prada Quiroga, C., Kennedy, S., Krehenwinkel, H., Rominger, Meier, J., Dimitrov, D., Struck, T., Gillespie, R.G. 2023. Multiple paths towards repeated phenotypic evolution in the spiny-leg adaptive radiation (Tetragnatha; Hawaiʻi). Molecular Ecology, 32(18), pp.4971-4985.
  • Hutchins, L., Graham, N, McCartney, A., Gillespie, R.G., Guzman, A. 2023. Arthropods are Kin: Operationalizing Indigenous Data Sovereignty to Respectfully Utilize Genomic Data from Indigenous Lands. Molecular Ecology Resources, in press.
  • Graham, N, Krehenwinkel, H, Lim, JY, Staniczenko, P, Callaghan, J, Andersen, JC., Gruner, DS., Gillespie, RG. 2023. Ecological network structure in response to community assembly processes over evolutionary time. Molecular Ecology, in press.
  • Cerca, J., …, Gillespie, R.G., Martin, M.D. 2023. Evolutionary genomics of oceanic island radiations. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, in press.
  • Kennedy, S., Calaor, J. Hans, J., Zurápiti, Y., Yoshimura, M., Choo, J., Andersen, J., Callagan, , Roderick, G.K., Krehenwinkel, H.†, Rogers, H.†, Gillespie, R.G. †, Economo, E.P.† 2022. Richness and resilience in the Pacific: DNA metabarcoding enables parallelized evaluation of biogeographic patterns. Molecular Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/mec.16575
  • Lim, J Y, J Patiño, S Noriyuki, L Cateyano Simmari, R.G. Gillespie, H.Krehenwinkel. 2022. Semi-quantitative metabarcoding reveals how climate shapes arthropod community assembly along elevation gradients on Hawaii Island. Molecular Ecology 31:1416-1429
  • Overcast, I., Ruffley, M., Rosindell, J., Harmon, L., Borges, P. A.V., Etienne, R. S., Gillespie, R. G…. 2021. A unified model of species abundance, genetic diversity, and functional diversity reveals the mechanisms structuring ecological communities. Molecular Ecology Resources 21(8), 2782-2800
  • Gillespie, R.G., Bennett, G.M., De Meester, L., Feder, J.L., Fleischer, R.C., Harmon, L.J., Hendry, A.P., Knope, M.L., Mallet, J., Martin, C., Parent, C.E., Austin H Patton, A.H., Pfennig, S., Rubinoff,  D., Schluter, D., Seehausen,  O., Shaw, K.L., Stacy, E., Stervander,  M., Stroud, J.T., Wagner, C., Wogan, G.O.U. 2020. Comparing adaptive radiations across space, time, and taxa. Journal of Heredity111(1), pp.1-20



See also Professor Rosemary’s personal website and Berkeley University of California website.