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Matt Forister, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Matt Forister

Contact Information


  • Post-doctoral Research Associate, Stony Brook University, January 2005 to July 2006
  • Ph.D., Ecology, University of California, Davis, 2004

Research Interests:

The Forister lab works in the areas of specialization, diversification, and plant-insect ecology. Specific questions and topics include the evolution of diet breadth, evolutionary interactions across trophic levels, phenology and population regulation. We are also interested in the conservation and management of insect diversity. In the field, our research includes the Great Basin, the Sierra Nevada, and much of the western hemisphere including tropical sites. In the lab, we combine physiological and behavioral experiments with genomic sequencing of novel-model organisms.


  • Forister, M. L., Scholl, C. F. (2012) Exotic host use affects mate choice in an insect herbivore. The American Naturalist doi:10.1086/665647
  • Forister, M. L., Dyer, L. A., Singer, M. S., Stireman, J. O., and Lill, J. T. (2012) Revisiting the evolution of ecological specialization, with emphasis on insect-plant interactions. Ecology 93:981-991
  • Wilson, J. S., Forister, M. L., Dyer, L. A., O'Connor, J. M., Burls, K., Feldman, C. R., Jaramillo, M. A., Miller, J. S., and Young, B. (2012) Host conservatism, host shifts and diversification across three trophic levels in two neotropical forests. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25:532-546
  • Jahner, J. P., Shapiro, A. M., and Forister, M. L. (2012) Drivers of hybridization in a 66-generation record from Colias butterflies. Evolution 66:818-830
  • Forister, M. L., Jahner, J. P., Casner, K. L., Wilson, J. S., and Shapiro, A. M. (2011) The race is not to the swift: long-term data reveal pervasive declines in California's low-elevation butterfly fauna. Ecology 92:2222-2235
  • Jahner, J. P., Bonilla, M. M., Badik, K. J., Shapiro, A. M., and Forister, M. L. (2011) Use of exotic hosts by lepidoptera: widespread species colonize more novel hosts. Evolution 65:2719-2724
  • Forister, M. L., Gompert, Z., Fordyce, J. A., and Nice, C. C. (2011) After sixty years, an answer to the question: what is the Karner blue butterfly? Biology Letters 7:399-402
  • Forister, M. L., Gompert, Z., Nice, C. C., Forister, G. W., and Fordyce, J. A. (2011) Ant association facilitates the evolution of diet breadth in a lycaenid butterfly. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278:1539-1547
  • Forister, M. L., and Feldman, C. R. (2011) Phylogenetic cascades and the evolution of tropical diversity. Biotropica 43:270-278
  • Forister, M. L., McCall, A. C., Sanders, N. J., Fordyce, J. A., Thorne, J. H., O'Brien, J., Waetjen, D. P., and Shapiro, A. M. (2010) Compounded effects of climate change and habitat alteration shift patterns of butterfly diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107:2088-2092

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