Scott V. Edwards

Scott V. Edwards

Professor and Curator
Scott enterying Wyoming on his 2020 x-country bicycle trip

B.A. Harvard University 1986

PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1992

Alfred P. Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Evolution, University of Florida, Gainesville, 1992-94

I am a scientist with broad interests in the evolution of life on earth and the processes that have generated biodiversity.  I mostly use birds as models to study patterns of speciation, biogeography, evolution of the genome, and the process of adaptation. This work has exposed my lab to a wide range of questions, from the evolution of immune genes and disease resistance to how best to reconstruct the tree of life.

During Spring 2017 I was on sabbatical at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. A summary of my activities in Gothenburg is here and here In summer of 2020, I undertook at ~3800 mile, 76-day bicycle ride across the US, meeting lots of interesting people and landscapes. You can read about my ride on Twitter, as well as here, here, or here.


Professional bio

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Plum Island

Lab birding trip, Plum Island, MA 2019

Some Recent Publications (see Publications page for free downloads):


Edwards, S. V. 2009. Is a new and general theory of molecular systematics  emerging? Evolution 63: 1-19.


Balakrishnan, C.N., Lee J. Y. and Edwards, S. V. 2010. Phylogeography and phylogenetics in the nuclear age. Pp. 65-88 In: In Search of the Causes of Evolution: From Field Observations to Mechanisms. (Eds., Peter and Rosemary Grant), Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.


Liu, L., L. Yu , S. V. Edwards. 2010. A maximum pseudo-likelihood approach for estimating species trees under the coalescent model. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:302. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-302.


Vo, A.-T., M. S. Bank, J. P. Shine, and S. V. Edwards. 2011. Temporal increase in organic mercury in an endangered pelagic seabird assessed via century-old museum specimens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 108: 7466-7471.


Bonneaud, C. S. L. Balenger, A. F. Russell, J. Zhang, G. E. Hill, and S. V. Edwards. 2011. Rapid evolution of disease resistance is accompanied by functional changes in gene expression in a wild bird Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 108: 7866-7871.


Edwards, S. V. 2013. Next-generation QTL mapping: crowdsourcing SNPs, without pedigrees. Molecular Ecology 22:3885-3887.


Baldwin, M. W., Y. Toda, T. Nakagita, M. J. O'Connell, K. C. Klasing, T. Misaka, S. V. Edwards, and S. D. Liberles. 2014. Evolution of sweet taste perception in hummingbirds by transformation of the ancestral umami receptor. Science 345:929-933.


Campbell-Staton, S. C., Z. A. Cheviron, N. Rochette, J. Catchen, J. B. Losos, S. V. Edwards. 2017. Winter storms drive rapid phenotypic, regulatory, and genomic shifts in the green anole lizard. Science 357: 495–498.


Edwards, S. V., A. Cloutier, A. J. Baker, J. A. Clarke, C. B. Lowe. 2017. Conserved non-exonic elements: A novel class of marker for phylogenomics. Systematic Biology 66: 1028-1044.


Lowe, C., Clarke, J. Baker, A. J., Haussler, D., Edwards, S. V. 2014. Feather development genes and associated regulatory innovation predate the origin of Dinosauria. Molecular Biology and Evolution 32:23-28.


Sackton TB, Grayson P, Cloutier A, Hu Z, Liu JS, Wheeler NE, Gardner PP, Clarke JA, Baker AJ, Clamp M, et al. 2019. Convergent regulatory evolution and loss of flight in paleognathous birds. Science 364:74-78.

Full list of publications

Contact Information

Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

MCZ 111
Fax: 617.495.5667
p: 617.384.8082

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