John P. Wares
Department of Genetics & Odum School of Ecology
University of Georgia • @wareslab

What I do

I study genetic variation within and between populations - usually marine or freshwater animals - and try to understand how abiotic forces influence this variation and its distribution. In particular, I’m interested in the tendency towards asymmetric migration and gene flow when ocean currents or rivers are involved. What we do as a research group is as much ecological as it is evolutionary in nature. When it comes down to it, I am trying to understand how diversity is distributed on this planet.

What, in general, have I learned?

The specifics are in the publications at links below. However, I can tell you that:

1. The distribution of genetic diversity is heavily influenced by both historical and contemporary patterns of movement. That shouldn’t be surprising! This includes post-glacial range expansions, species introduction patterns, and the dispersal of propagules in rivers and currents.
2. Species are moving and disappearing with climate change, but molecular data are also helping us discover and describe new species, and new axes of diversity in species.
3. Exploring pathogen dynamics in marine populations is very tricky. But we are learning so much from disease outbreaks about the interaction of pathogens and a stressful environment.

This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, National Geographic Committee for Research & Exploration, and exploratory funds from The University of Georgia.

Publications (Peer-Reviewed)

The best way to see what I’ve written and how it has influenced other biologists is to look at my record via Google Scholar. I also now have a ResearchGate page. However, here are a few recent ones you might like:

Chandler, V. K*. and J. P. Wares. 2017. RNA expression and disease tolerance are associated with a “keystone mutation” in the ochre sea star Pisaster ochraceus. PeerJ 5:e3696; DOI 10.7717/peerj.3696

Ewers-Saucedo, C., J.M. Pringle, H. H. Sepúlveda, J. E. Byers, S. A. Navarrete, J. P. Wares. The oceanic concordance of phylogeography and biogeography: a case study in Notochthamalus. Ecology & Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2205

Wares, J. P. and L. Schiebelhut*. 2016. What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger: An association between elongation factor 1-α overdominance in the sea star Pisaster ochraceus and "sea star wasting disease”. PeerJ 4:e1876 DOI:10.7717/peer1876 also see:

Ewers-Saucedo*, C., N. B. Hope, and J. P. Wares. 2016. The unexpected mating system of the androdioecious barnacle Chelonibia testudinaria (Linnaeus, 1758). Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/mec.13593

Pappalardo, P., J. M. Pringle, J. P. Wares, J. E. Byers. 2015. The location, strength, and mechanisms behind marine biogeographic boundaries of the east coast of North America. Ecography, DOI: 10.1111/ecog.01135

Pringle, J. M., J. E. Byers, P. Pappalardo, J. P. Wares, D. Marshall. 2014. Circulation constrains the evolution of larval development modes and life histories in the coastal ocean. Ecology 95:1022–1032.

Zakas, C. and J. P. Wares. 2012. Consequences of a poecilogonous life history for genetic structure in coastal populations of the polychaete Streblospio benedicti. Molecular Ecology, 21: 5447-5460. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12040

Pre-Print Publications

To view contributions that are on their way towards peer review, please look at my PeerJ user page.

Other Contributions

Unrefereed but open-access contributions nevertheless can have an impact or utility:

Wares, John (2014): Diversity in Testudinalia testudinalis. figshare.
Wares, John; Turner, Thomas F. (2014): Mitochondrial diversity in rainbow trout and close relatives. fig


Wares JP. 2010. Access Action: Keep your trails from getting too exotic. DIRT RAG 148:46-51

Blogs and Social Media

Lab blog is available
here, lab twitter account here

What I Teach and/or How I Teach

Introduction to Evolution, Population Genetics, Climate Change and Evolution, Biodiversity Genetics (management, discovery), Molecular Ecology
2013 Sustainability in the Curriculum Workshop
CTL Writing Fellow
2016 Instructor,
Friday Harbor Labs (UW)
Introduction to Organismal Biology for Non-Majors at UGA (BIOL 1104)

links to wiki resources developed by Honors Evolution courses in 2012 (
Evolution and Climate Change) and 2015 (Evolution and Infectious Disease)

Whom I Have Mentored

see People link

Public Service

I’m proud to serve the Athens and University of Georgia communities through trail building and trail education. I have worked with the local chapter of SORBA as well as other trail building organizations. I am currently the President of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Natural History.

Still Want More?

Here is a copy of a recent version of my CV.