Elizabeth G. Pringle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Biology, Stanford University, 2011
  • A.B., Environmental Science and Public Policy, Harvard University, 2004

Research Interests

My research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of multispecies mutualisms.

I am broadly interested in evolutionary ecology and my research uses chemical, molecular, and field approaches to study the dynamics of plant-animal-microbe interactions and their effects on communities and ecosystems. I study the effects of rainfall seasonality, the links between mutualisms and their broader ecological communities, and eco-evolutionary feedbacks by focusing on ant-plant-herbivore interactions. I also study how human-mediated disturbances, such as defaunation, deforestation, and invasive species, affect ecological communities by focusing on seed dispersal mutualisms.

Selected Publications

  • Pringle, E.G. 2015. Integrating plant carbon dynamics with mutualism ecology. New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.13679
  • Bonilla, N.O. and E.G. Pringle. 2015. Contagious seed dispersal and the spread of avian-dispersed exotic plants. Biological Invasions DOI: 10.1007/s10530-015-0966-4
  • Pringle, E.G., A. Novo, I. Ableson, R.V. Barbehenn, and R.L. Vannette. 2014. Plant-derived differences in the composition of aphid honeydew and their effects on colonies of aphid-tending ants. Ecology and Evolution 4: 4065-4079.
  • Pringle, E.G. 2014. Harnessing ant defence at fruits reduces bruchid seed predation in a symbiotic ant-plant mutualism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20140474.
  • Pringle, E.G and D.M. Gordon. 2013. Protection mutualisms and the community: geographic variation in an ant-plant symbiosis and the consequences for herbivores. Sociobiology 60: 242-251.
  • Pringle, E.G., E. Akçay, T. Raab, R. Dirzo, and D.M. Gordon. 2013. Water stress strengthens mutualism among ants, trees and scale insects. PLOS Biology 11(11): e1001705.
  • Pringle, E.G., R. Dirzo, and D.M. Gordon. 2012. Plant defense, herbivory, and the growth of Cordia alliodora trees and their symbiotic Azteca ant colonies. Oecologia. 170: 677-685.
  • Pringle, E.G., S.R. Ramírez, T.C. Bonebrake, D.M. Gordon, and R. Dirzo. 2012. Diversification and phylogeographic structure in widespread Azteca plant-ants from the northern Neotropics. Molecular Ecology 21: 3576-3592.
  • Pringle, E.G., R.I. Adams, E. Broadbent, P.E. Busby, C.I. Donnatti, E.L. Kurten, K. Renton, and R. Dirzo. 2011. Distinct leaf-trait syndromes of evergreen and deciduous trees in a seasonally dry tropical forest. Biotropica. 43: 299-308.
  • Pringle, E.G., R. Dirzo, and D.M. Gordon. 2011. Indirect benefits of symbiotic coccoids for an ant-defended myrmecophytic tree. Ecology. 91: 37-46.