Chair, Research Committee
Lill, John T. (Active)
George Washington University
Lepidoptera/plant interactions
John was born on December 30, 1968, in Washington, D.C. From an early age, he was interested in biology and natural history. He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, and attended college at the University of Maryland, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with an emphasis in ecology in 1990. He continued at the University of Maryland, earning an MS degree in conservation biology and sustainable development in 1992. After spending a summer in Costa Rica taking a field course in tropical ecology, he became interested in plant-insect interactions and moved in 1993 to St. Louis to work on a PhD degree in ecology. Under the guidance of Robert J. Marquis, he studied the evolutionary ecology of leaf-tying caterpillars on oak trees in Missouri, earning his PhD degree in 1999. After graduate school, he did postdoctoral research in the Missouri Ozarks and taught as an adjunct professor at both University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University, spending a year at the Tyson Research Center field station as an independent researcher. In the fall of 2002, he moved back to the D.C. area to join the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at George Washington University. During the school year, John teaches undergraduate courses in conservation biology and plant-animal interactions, and graduate courses in ecology and evolution. The main thrust of his research is focused on identifying the ecological factors shaping the diets of generalist insect herbivores. Most of his research is local, focusing on caterpillar-plant interactions in eastern forests. He enjoys sharing his interest in the natural world with children and is active in the Cub Scouts. John lives in Silver Spring, with his wife, Diane, and three children; Patrick, Laura, and Sarah. John was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 2006.