Jean-Philippe Lessard appointed editor in chief of Ecological Monographs

December 15, 2021
For immediate release

Contact: Heidi Swanson, (202) 833-8773 ext. 211, gro.asenull@idieh

Jean-Philippe Lessard. Photo courtesy of David Ward.

After a highly competitive search, the Ecological Society of America is pleased to announce the appointment of Jean-Philippe Lessard as the new editor-in-chief of its journal Ecological Monographs. In his new role, Lessard will lead Monographs in publishing integrative, synthetic ecological research that elaborates on new directions for the field of ecology.

Lessard completed his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee and is currently an associate professor of biology at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he is serving as the Research Chair in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (2017-2022). Since 2021, he has served as a subject-matter editor for both Monographs and Ecology.

“It is a tremendous honor, a privilege, and a great challenge to spearhead this historically prestigious journal into new and exciting directions while preserving the formula that made it successful,” said Lessard. “By publishing comprehensive and cutting-edge work in both fundamental and applied sciences, Ecological Monographs occupies a unique niche in the publication landscape. As the next Editor in Chief, I aim to consolidate its position as a leading journal in the field while rejuvenating aspects of it and encouraging and helping scientists from every corner of the world to publish their best work in it. I also hope to use my leadership role to work toward a more equal, diverse, and inclusive community of ecologists, raise awareness and find solutions to the challenges faced by minorities.”

Lessard teaching a field course to Concordia University undergraduate students at Parc National de la Jacques Cartier, near Quebec City. Photo courtesy of Javier Ibarra Isassi.

Initially he trained as an entomologist at McGill University, where he obtained a B.S. in Environmental and Agricultural Sciences with a specialization in zoology. Lessard then proceeded to the University of Tennessee, where his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology focused on the community ecology and biogeography of ants. He then went to the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen to pursue postdoctoral work on global scale patterns of biodiversity and to train in computer programming and develop new statistical approaches to study community assembly processes.

Lessard’s work investigates the maintenance and distribution of biological diversity from local to global scales. He uses theoretical and empirical approaches to study how species coexist, and how historical and contemporary processes interact to generate uneven distributions of life forms across the globe. Recently, he has been working on extending community assembly theory to multitrophic assemblages of plant and insects, as well as host and their parasites. While his research generally addresses fundamental questions in community ecology and macroecology, he also aims to develop models that improve future biodiversity predictions in the context of climate change and biological invasions.

Lessard holding a tray full of ants. Lessard’s research includes investigations of ant community response to disturbance and the impacts of invasive ants on native communities. Photo courtesy of Lisa Graves.

Before joining the ESA editorial board, Lessard served as an associate editor for several journals specializing in animal ecology and biogeography. In recent years, he was invited to give the George Lubinsky Memorial Lecture at the University of Manitoba, and a public talk on his favorite topic – ants – at the Société Provancher, a society of naturalists devoted to nature conservation.

“With his impressive research background and previous involvement with ESA’s journals, Dr. Lessard is in a unique position to ensure that the journal continues to excel,” said ESA Executive Director Catherine O’Riordan. “I am confident that he will serve the journal’s community of authors well.”

Lessard will step into the new role on January 1, 2022.

Lessard visiting colleagues at CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas) in Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina, to work on a project investigating the impact of invasive pines, which are rapidly colonizing the alpine zone, on plant-microbial networks. Photo courtesy of Mariano Rodriguez-Cabal.


Ecological Monographs was launched by ESA in 1931 to accommodate longer articles than could be published in Ecology. The journal features reviews, concepts and synthesis papers, and original research papers providing integrative and complete documentation of major empirical and theoretical advances in the field. it consistently ranks in the top ten journals in the Ecology subcategory of the Journal Citation Reports® published by Clarivate Analytics.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at