Eric R. Pianka
Denton A. Cooley Centennial Professor
Main Office: PAT 125
Phone: (512) 471-7472
Alternate Office: PAT 119
Alt. Phone: (512) 471-1456
The University of Texas at Austin
Section of Integrative Biology
One University Station
Austin ,Texas 78712
Research SummaryMy interests are ever changing but have included population and community ecology, evolutionary ecology, natural history of desert lizards, resource partitioning, reproductive tactics, foraging theory, allocation, design constraints, thermoregulation, metapopulations, historical accident and biogeography, species diversity, macrodescriptors, pseudocommunities, phylogenetic systematics, computer simulation of model systems, emergent properties of ecological systems, metapopulations, indirect interactions among populations, disturbance, succession, and landscape ecology.
I have spent my life studying the evolutionary ecology of the second largest group of terrestrial vertebrates, lizards. I am the Denton A. Cooley Centennial Professor of Zoology at the University of Texas at Austin. My past and present research covers a broad range of topics pertaining to the ecology, biology and evolution of lizards.
Some of my research was the subject of a PBS NOVA documentary “Lizard Kings”, also shown in Australia.
My graduate students are autonomous scientists who not only obtain their own funding but also design, execute, and publish their own research (they also land academic positions at major universities -- about half of them are now tenured). They work on a wide range of projects, both theoretical and empirical, as well as on a diversity of organisms including ants, butterflies, eigenvalues, grasshoppers, protozoans, frogs, fish and lizard communities, as well as various species of birds. Currently, I am working on the fire succession cycle in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia and on phylogenetic systematic studies of Ctenotus skinks and varanid lizards. I am also tying up my life’s work preserving my massive data set for future generations of evolutionary ecologists.