Douglas J. Futuyma

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Douglas Joel Futuyma
Born 24th of April, 1942
New York City
Nationality USA
Fields Biology
Institutions University of Michigan
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Notable awards Sewall Wright Award (1997)
Leidy Award (2012)

Douglas Joel Futuyma is an American evolutionary biologist. He is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York and a Research Associate on staff at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.[1] His research focuses on speciation and population biology.[2] Futuyma is the author of a widely used undergraduate textbook on evolution and is also known for his work in public outreach,[3] particularly in advocating against creationism.[4]


Futuyma graduated with a B.S. from Cornell University. He received his M.S. in 1966 and his Ph.D. in zoology in 1969, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.[1]

Academic career[edit]

Futuyma began his career in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University in 1969 and was appointed Distinguished Professor in 2001. He served as the chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor from 2002-2003 and as the Lawrence B. Slobodkin Collegiate Professor in that department from 2003-2004 before returning to Stony Book in 2004.[1]

Futuyma served as the president of the Society for the Study of Evolution in 1987, of the American Society of Naturalists in 1994, and of the American Institute of Biological Sciences in 2008. He has served as the editor of the scientific journals Evolution and Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics.[1]


Futuyma's research examines speciation and population biology, particularly the evolutionary interactions between herbivorous insects and their plant hosts and the implications for evolution of host specificity.[2]

Teaching and outreach[edit]

Futuyma is well known for his success in teaching and public outreach.[3] He is the author of several textbooks, most notably the very widely used authoritative text Evolutionary Biology (in its third edition, published 1998)[5] and a simplified version targeted explicitly to undergraduates, Evolution (in its third edition, published 2013).[6] The latter text has been positively reviewed as important to the successful teaching of evolution, though less comprehensive than the former.[7] He has also co-edited a more advanced book composed of edited reviews, Coevolution,[8] with Montgomery Slatkin; it received mixed reviews from those in the field.[9][10]

Futuyma has also written for a popular audience in his book Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution, originally published in 1982, in which he discusses the creation-evolution controversy.[11] The book has been regarded as highly effective in making the argument for evolution and as a tool for discussing the topic with those who are uncertain; philosopher of biology Michael Ruse described it as "a first-class book".[12] It was also reviewed as suitable for use in undergraduate education.[13] Richard Lewontin found the book "lucid" but criticized its presentation, along with other books on the topic published around the same time, as failing to capture the origins of the debate as a social phenomenon.[14]

Futuyma is openly gay. He has said that he was initially surprised at the lack of negative career consequences, and that LGBT visibility is important to progress on gay rights.[15][16] In 1984 he co-authored a scientific paper critical of the evidence available at the time that homosexuality might be genetic.[17]

Awards and honors[edit]

Futuyma was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1985 and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2006.[1]

Futuyma was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow in 1992 and as a Fulbright Fellow senior scholar in 1999, awarded for travel to the University of Melbourne in Australia.[1]

He received the Sewall Wright Award from the American Society of Naturalists in 1997[1] and the Leidy Award from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in 2012.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Futuyma, Douglas J. (October 2013). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Stony Brook University. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Ecology & Evolution Department Faculty". Stony Brook University. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Joseph Leidy Award for Stony Brook Biologist". The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. September 13, 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Congratulations to Douglas J. Futuyma". National Center for Science Education. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Futuyma, Douglas J. (1998). Evolutionary Biology (3rd ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 978-0-87893-189-7. 
  6. ^ Futuyma, Douglas J. (2013). Evolution (3rd ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 978-1-60535-115-5. 
  7. ^ Applequist, Wendy L. (1 April 2006). "Evolution by D. J. Futuyma". Systematic Botany 31 (2): 441–441. doi:10.1600/036364406777585711. 
  8. ^ Futuyma, Douglas J.; Slatkin, Montgomery, eds. (1983). Coevolution ([2nd printing]. ed.). Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Assoc. ISBN 9780878932283. 
  9. ^ Kitchell, Jennifer A. (1983). "Reviewed Work: Coevolution. by Douglas J. Futuyma, Montgomery Slatkin". Paleobiology 9 (3): 308–313. 
  10. ^ Jollie, Malcolm (April 1984). "Reviewed Work: Coevolution by Douglas J. Futuyma, Montgomery Slatkin". The Auk 101 (2): 410–12. 
  11. ^ Futuyma, Douglas J. (1983). Science on trial (1. ed.). New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0394706795. 
  12. ^ Ruse, Michael (September 1983). "Reviewed Work: Science on Trial: The Case for Evolution. by Douglas J. Futuyma". The Quarterly Review of Biology 58 (3): 395–398. 
  13. ^ Weaver, David S. (August 1985). "Science on trial. By D.J. Futuyma. New York: Pantheon Books. 1983. xii + 251 pp., figures, tables, appendix, notes, index. $6.95 (paper)". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 67 (4): 419–420. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330670414. 
  14. ^ Lewontin, Richard C. (16 June 1983). "Darwin’s Revolution". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  15. ^ Silberman, Steve; Koerth-Baker, Maggie. "Coming Out in the Sciences: Part II—Your stories, today". BoingBoing. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  16. ^ Spector, Barbara (2 March 1992). "Gay And Lesbian Scientists Seek Workplace Equality". The Scientist Magazine. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  17. ^ Futuyma, DJ; Risch, SJ (1984). "Sexual orientation, sociobiology, and evolution.". Journal of homosexuality 9 (2-3): 157–68. PMID 6687153. 

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