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Chris Simon

Senior Research Scientist of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut

Senior Research Scientist, Chris Simon, of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department of the University of Connecticut, employs molecular phylogenomic trees to answer questions related to the origin, spread, and conservation of biological diversity. She has used cicadas and their microbial and fungal symbionts as model organisms. She has a special interest in 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas, New Zealand cicadas, and cicada deep level relationships. She and her lab group have used NZ cicadas to explore the effect of landscape and climate change on biodiversity, periodical cicadas to understand the effect of life history on speciation, and cicada-symbiont consortia to understand how biodiversity spreads globally. Her early work was notable for elucidating the importance of accommodating patterns of molecular evolution (especially among site rate variation) during the construction of evolutionary trees. Her review papers have acted as a bridge between theoreticians and practitioners of phylogenetic tree building. She was the Editor of the Journal Systematic Biology (2001-2004), and President of the Society for Systematic Biologists in 2008.


  • –present
    Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut


Fulbright Senior Research Fellow (1995-1998) Honorary fellow of the Royal Society of NZ (2016) UCONN Alumni Association Research Excellence Award (2017) the President's Award (lifetime achievement) from the Society of Systematic Biologists (2020).