Peter Grant

Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology Emeritus | EEB
Evolutionary Biology
Office Phone
403 Guyot Hall

I am interested in ecology, evolution and behavior. I seek an understanding of the origin of new species, their ecological interactions, their persistence in different communities and their ultimate extinction. In this broad area I chose Darwin's Finches on the Galápagos Islands for intensive investigation more than 40 years ago because some unique features, including their tameness and simplicity of their undisturbed habitats, make them unusually suitable for field research into questions of evolution. Although I retired in 2008, and no longer supervise graduate students, I continue research on the finches, and carry it out in several collaborations, with my wife Rosemary Grant, molecular geneticist Leif Andersson, and other scientists. Our current focus is on the evolutionary importance of hybridization. We are attempting to discover how an exchange of genes between species affects fitness-related traits, and how hybridization may have contributed to the origin and proliferation of species. 

Selected Publications

Lamichhaney, S., Han, F., Webster, M.T., Andersson, L., Grant, B.R. and Grant, P.R., (2018). Rapid hybrid speciation in Darwin’s finches. Science, 359:224-228.

Grant, B.R. and Grant, P.R., (2017). Watching speciation in action. Science, 355(6328), 910-911.

Grant, P. R. (2017). Evolution, climate change, and extreme events. Science, 357(6350), 451-452.

Lamichhaney, S., F. Han, J. Berglund, Wang, C., M. S. Almén, M. T. Webster, B. R. Grant, P. R. Grant, and L. Andersson. (2016). A beak size locus in Darwin’s finches facilitated character displacement during a drought. Science 352: 470-474.

Lamichhaney, S., J. Berglund, M. S. Almén, K. Maqbool, M. Grabherr, A. Martinez-Barrio, M. Promerová, C-J. Rubin, C. Wang, N. Zamani, B. R. Grant, P. R. Grant, M. T. Webster, and L. Andersson. (2015). Evolution of Darwin’s finches and their beaks revealed by genome sequencing. Nature 518: 371-5.

Grant, P. R. and B. R. Grant (2014). 40 Years of Evolution. Darwin’s Finches on Daphne Major Island. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Grant, P. R., and B. R. Grant. (2014). Synergism of natural selection and introgression in the origin of a new species. American Naturalist 183: 671-681.

Grant, P. R. and Grant, B. R. (2011). Causes of lifetime fitness of Darwin’s finches in a fluctuating environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108: 674-679.