Naomi Pierce

Naomi Pierce

Principal Investigator
Naomi Pierce Headshot

Research Interests

Naomi Pierce is the Hessel Professor of Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and Curator of Lepidoptera in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Research in her laboratory focuses on the ecology and evolution of species interactions. This has ranged from field studies measuring the costs and benefits of symbioses between ants and other organisms, to genetic analyses of biochemical signaling pathways underlying interactions between plants, pathogens and insects. She has also been involved in reconstructing the evolutionary ‘Tree of life’ of insects such as ants, bees, and butterflies, and in using molecular phylogenies to make comparative studies of life history evolution and biogeographical distributions. Pierce came to Harvard in 1990 after appointments as a Research Lecturer in Christ Church and the Department of Zoology, Oxford University, and Assistant and Associate Professor, Princeton University. She has received prizes such as a Fulbright Fellowship and a MacArthur award, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. The author of numerous scientific papers and an edited book, she lives in Cambridge with her husband and their two daughters.


Media Information

Naomi Pierce"Nabokov theory on butterfly evolution is vindicated" [link] [PDF 0.2M]
- Carl Zimmer, NY Times, 25 January 2011

"Why Evolution is true" [link]
- Jerry Coyne

'Lolita' author Nabokov was right about butterflies [link] [MP3 2.1M]
NPR: All Things Considered, 30 January 2011


Naomi Pierce in India  A Life with Lycaenids: Naomi Pierce goes beyond Nabokov [link] - John de Cuevas, Harvard Magazine, 1 July 2001

Nabokov’s blues [link] - Rebecca Hersher '11, Harvard Gazette, 17 February 2011

Naomi E. Pierce on Getting Over A Fear of Insects [link]
- Zohara D. Yaqhubi, Harvard Crimson, 26 October 2012


Naomi Pierce with Lycaenids


The Harvard Butterfly Collection [video link] - Martha Stewart and Naomi Pierce take a field trip to the butterfly collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Martha Stewart Living


Contact Information

MCZ Labs
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: +1 (617) 495 2576

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