Conservation & Science Staff Bios

Joseph L. Simonis, Ph.D.

  Adjunct Scientist
Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology and Urban Wildlife Institute


  • Ph.D. – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
  • B.S. – Integrative Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Areas of Expertise

  • Quantitative and theoretical population biology
  • Dispersal and metapopulation biology
  • Influence of demographic stochasticity on population dynamics
  • Persistence in fragmented landscapes
  • Aquatic ecology

About Josie Simonis:

Josie Simonis was a research scientist at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology from 2013-2015 and is now an adjunct scientist with the Alexander Center and the zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute.

Josie received her B.S. (with highest honors) in integrative biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006, conducting research on enzyme production by aquatic fungi and parasite-host dynamics in Daphnia (water flea). Following a year off from school, which she spent as a technician in a plant-insect lab at Florida State University, Josie began her Ph.D. studies at Cornell University in 2007.

Working with Nelson Hairston Jr., Ph.D., in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Josie studied how dispersal and trophic interactions combine to determine the dynamics of populations in spatially fragmented landscapes. Her thesis consisted of observational, experimental and theoretical studies and was focused on a system of freshwater rock pools on Appledore Island, Maine. The rock pools provided a fantastic field system to study how populations and food webs persist in naturally fragmented habitats. While in grad school, Josie also developed and taught a graduate-level course and multiple workshops on statistical programming. Josie completed her dissertation (titled “Food Webs in Space!”) in January 2013 and promptly moved back to Illinois. In 2015 Josie moved to Portland for new opportunities, but she continues to collaborate with Lincoln Park Zoo scientists on key initiatives.


Pellowe-Wagstaff, K. E. and J. L. Simonis 2014. The ecology and mechanisms of overflow-mediated dispersal in a rock-pool metacommunity. Freshwater Biology 59(6): 1161-1172.

Belle, R.C., Belmaker, A., Couch, C.S., Marchetto, K.M., Simonis, J.L., Thomas, R.Q., Sparks, J.P., Brown, J.M., Francisco, K.S., Manuel, M.E. 2013. Effectiveness of Erythrina gall wasp biocontrol and implications for the recovery of threatened Wiliwili trees (Fabaceae: Erythrina sandwisensis). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 140(2): 215-224.

Simonis, J.L. 2013. Predator ontogeny determines trophic cascade strength in freshwater rock pools. Ecosphere, 4(5): 62.

Simonis, J.L. 2013. Prey (Moina macrocopa) population density drives emigration rate of its predator (Trichocorixa verticalis) in a rock-pool metacommunity. Hydrobiologia, 715(1): 19-27.

Simonis, J.L, D. Neuharth-Keusch, and I. Hewson. 2012. Aquatic bacterial assemblage variability in the supra littoral zone of Appledore Island, Gulf of Maine. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 80: 501-508.

Simonis, J.L. 2012. Demographic stochasticity reduces the synchronizing effect of dispersal in predator-prey metapopulations. Ecology 93: 1517-1524.

Simonis, J.L. 2012. Prey (Moina macrocopa) population density drives emigration of predator (Trichocorixa verticalis) in a rock-pool metacommunity. Hydrobiologia, DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1268-9.

Capps, K.A., M.T. Booth, S.M. Collins, M.A. Davison, J.M. Moslemi, R.W. El-Sabaawi, J.L. Simonis, and A.S. Flecker. 2011. Nutrient diffusing substrata: a field comparison of commonly used methods to assess nutrient limitation. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 30: 522-532.

Hall, S.R., C. Becker, J.L. Simonis, M.A. Duffy, A.J. Tessier, and C.E. Cáceres. 2009. Friendly competition: evidence for a dilution effect among competitors in a planktonic host-parasite system. Ecology: 90 791-801.

Hall, S.R., J.L. Simonis, R.M. Nisbet, A.J. Tessier, and C.E. Cáceres. 2009. Resource ecology of virulence in a planktonic host-parasite system: an explanation using dynamic energy budgets. American Naturalist 174: 149-162.

Simonis, J.L., H.A. Raja, and C.A. Shearer. 2008. Extracellular enzymes and soft-rot decay: are ascomycetes important degraders in freshwater?. Fungal Diversity 31: 135-146.