Phil DeVries, Ph.D.

Tropical Ecology and Biodiversity

Phil DeVries is a tropical biologist who works in the areas of biodiversity, evolutionary ecology and conservation of insects, with particular emphasis on understanding butterflies in the context of their habitats. He employs vigorous field and museum work to develop long-term studies for understanding the factors affecting spatial and temporal patterns of diverse species assemblages. He also conducts studies that focus on the evolution and ecology of symbiotic associations, insect flight, communication, mimicry, and animal-plant interactions. He has been involved in research projects in numerous areas of Central and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. His work has motivated research on an international scale including comparative diversity assessments among tropical forests, effects of disturbance on insect diversity, development of demographic models, temporal partitions for co-existence of hyper-diverse communities, wing-shape evolution in the forest canopy and understory butterflies, seasonal cycles of species diversity and similarity in tropical insect communities, and communication systems among insect symbionts. He has published two major books on the comparative biology of Costa Rican butterflies, over 90 separate research articles on biodiversity, ecology, evolution and conservation, and has worked as a presenter in a number of critically acclaimed natural history films. He has been awarded several significant honors including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Dodge Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and grants from the National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society. He holds a BSc from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. He speaks English and Spanish.