Biologist Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Mark A. McPeek, the David T. McLaughlin Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Mark McPeek
Professor Mark McPeek teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including a course called “Seeing Nature: How Aristotle and Darwin understood nature and human society.” (Photo by John Sherman)

McPeek is one of 213 new members who constitute the Academy’s 236th class, a group that includes some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, and artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders. The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 8 in Cambridge, Mass.

“I am very humbled and honored to be included in such a distinguished group of people,” McPeek says.

An ecologist and evolutionary biologist, McPeek integrates these fields of study using empirical and theoretical approaches to examine how ecological processes influenced the adaptation of organisms in the past, how this may result in speciation and extinction, and how these processes have resulted in the organisms we see around us today. His specific focus is on understanding how communities of organisms are assembled and structured across the landscape.

McPeek teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including “Cooperation and Conflict,” “Biostatistics,” and “Advanced Community Ecology.” He co-teaches “Seeing Nature: How Aristotle and Darwin understood nature and human society” with Hakan Tell, an associate professor of classics. McPeek’s lab, which includes undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars, is currently focused on theoretical models of how interactions among species shape their coevolution and the overall development of biological community structure.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing—and opportunities available to—the nation and the world. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions.