Johannes Foufopoulos Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Ph.D. Zoology, 1999, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Masters of Science, Zoology, 1995, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bachelor of Science, Biology, 1991, University of Illinois-Urbana

Research in the lab focuses on fundamental conservation biology questions and on issues related to the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. Major research projects examine how habitat fragmentation, invasive organisms and global climate change result in species extinction. Other projects address questions regarding the impact of diseases on wildlife populations and the environmental causes leading to disease emergence.

Awards and Grants:
Current and past support by the Dept. of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Fauna & Flora International, Latsis Foundation etc.

Research Interests

We are broadly interested in the conservation biology of terrestrial vertebrates. Lab members are examining the,impact of habitat fragmentation on host-parasite interactions and population extinctions in reptiles, as well as the interactive effects between external stressors and infectious diseases in vertebrates. Other research projects have investigated the impact of human activities such as habitat degradation, climate change and the introduction of exotic taxa (including livestock and feral pets) on the loss of biodiversity. Much of the work focuses on island ecosystems with a further emphasis on mediterranean regions. 

A second area of interest centers on the ecology and evolution of parasitic organisms and the impact they have on their hosts. This includes the ecological and physiological factors underlying host-parasite interactions, the dynamics of infectious diseases in natural populations and the importance of disease for the conservation of endangered species.

Current/Recent Research:

  • Description: Effects of long-term fragmentation on island populations of the Aegean Wall lizard Podarcis erhardii
    Funding Agency/Institution: UM, European Union / General Secretariat for Research and Technology.
  • Description: Emergence of Q-Fever infection in the grasslands of East Africa.
    Funding Agency/Institution:
     University of Michigan
  • Description: Interactive effects of parasitism and food supplementation in a natural population of white-crowned sparrows.
    Funding Agency/Institution: National Science Foundation.

Teaching Interests:
Conservation Biology, Disease Ecology

Current/Recent Teaching:
Courses recently taught include: NRE 509 - Ecology, Science of Context and Interaction (with Bill Currie), ENVIRON 317 - Conservation Biology, ENVIRON 139 - Emerging Diseases (First Year Seminar), NRE 639 – Ecosystem Health,EEB/ENVIRON 315 - Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (with P. Rohani). 

Selected Publications


  • Valakos, Pafilis, Lymberakis, Sotiropoulos, Maragou, Foufopoulos. 2008. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Greece. Chimaira Editions, Frankfurt Germany. 480pp.
  • Biological Survey of New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea. 2008. (with N. Anthony, D. Byrnes, and M. Putnam). 216 pp. Falcon Art Media, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Slavenko, A., Itescu, Y., Foufopoulos, J., Pafilis, P., and Meiri, S.  2015. Clutch size variability in an ostensibly fix-clutched lizard: effects of insularity on a Mediterranean gecko. Evolutionary Biology. 42(2):129-136.   DOI 10.1007/s11692-015-9304-0
  • OConnor, D., Butt, B., and J. Foufopoulos. 2015. Foraging ecologies of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) and camels (Camelus dromedarius) in northern Kenya: Effects of habitat structure and possibilities for competition? African Journal of Ecology. 53(2): 183–193. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12204
  • Brock*, K., Bednekoff, P., Pafilis*, P., and J. Foufopoulos. 2015. Evolution of antipredator defenses in island lizard species Podarcis erhardii (Reptilia: Lacertidae). The sum of all fears?  Evolution. 69(1): 216-231. DOI:10.1111/evo.12555.
  • Li*, B., Bednekoff, P., Belasen*, A., Pafilis*, P. and J. Foufopoulos. 2014. Effects of feral cats on the evolution of antipredator behaviors in island reptiles: insights from an ancient introduction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B (in press).
  • Murdock*, C. Foufopoulos, J. and C.P. Simon. 2013. A transmission model for the ecology of an avian blood parasite in a temperate ecosystem. PLoS ONE, 8(9): e76126. 
  • Donihue*, C.M., Porensky, L.M., Foufopoulos, J., Riginos, C., and R.M. Pringle. 2013. Glade cascades: Indirect legacy effects of pastoralism enhance the abundance and spatial structuring of arboreal fauna.  Ecology 94: 827-837.
  • Foufopoulos, J., Kilpatrick, M. and A.R. Ives. 2011. Holocene climate change and elevated extinction rates of northern reptile species from Mediterranean islands. American Naturalist, 177 :119-129.
  • Munoz*, N.E., D.T. Blumstein, and J. Foufopoulos. 2010. Immune system activation affects song and territorial defense. Behavioral Ecology 21: 788-793.
  • Pafilis, P., J. Foufopoulos, N. Poulakakis, P. Lymberakis and E. D. Valakos. 2009. Tail shedding in island lizards: Decline of anti-predator defenses in relaxed predation environments. Evolution, 63(5): 1262-1278.
  • Hurston, H., Bonanno, L. Voith, J. Foufopoulos, P. Pafilis, E. Valakos, and N. Anthony. 2009. Effects of fragmentation on genetic diversity in island populations of the Aegean wall lizard Podarcis erhardii (Lacertidae, Reptilia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 52: 395-405.
  • Foufopoulos, J., and G. C. Mayer 2007. The effects of life history on avian immigration and extinction rates. Journal of Biogeography, 34: 1113-1123.
  • Gilman*, S., Blumstein, D.T, and J. Foufopoulos. 2007. The effect of haemosporidian infections on white-crowned sparrow singing behaviour. Ethology 113(5): 437-445.
  • Foufopoulos, J., and S. Richards. 2007. Amphibians and reptiles of New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea: diversity and conservation status. Hamadryad, 31(2): 176-201.
  • Foufopoulos, J. and R. Brown. 2004. A new frog of the genus Platymantis (Amphibia; Anura; Ranidae) from New Britain, and redescription of the poorly known Platymantis macroscelesCopeia 4: 825-841.
  • Lindstrom, K., Foufopoulos, J., Paern, H., and M. Wikelski. 2004. Immunological investments reflect parasite abundance in island populations of Darwin's finches. Proceedings of the Royal Society B (London) 271: 513-519.
  • MacDougall-Shackleton, E.A., E. P. Derryberry, J. Foufopoulos, A.P. Dobson, and T. P. Hahn. Parasite-mediated heterozygote advantage in an outbred songbird population. Biology Letters 1: 105-107.
  • Dobson, A. P. and J. Foufopoulos. 2001. Emerging infectious pathogens in wildlife.Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B., 356: 1001-1012.
  • Altizer, S., J. Foufopoulos, and A. Gager. 2001. Disease and Conservation. In Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, S. Levin (ed.) Academic Press 2: 109-129.
  • Foufopoulos, J., and A. R. Ives. 1999 Reptile extinctions on land-bridge islands: life history attributes and vulnerability to extinction. American Naturalist, 153(1): 1-25.

* Denotes students supervised