John J. Jacisin III

Postdoctoral Scholar


I was born in Ohio, but raised in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A small Jurassic dinosaur exhibit ignited my interest in becoming a paleontologist when I was only two years old, but my exposure to paleontology was minimal while I lived in the Upper Peninsula. I was, however, always in nature, exploring the forests and Lake Superior over the years. My interest in reptiles and amphibians, and learning about them in the context of deep time, grew from a few mentors/coworkers at a Scout Camp. Little did I know how influential these things would become in pursuit of my career goals!

I received my BA in Geology with a minor in Paleontology at Albion College with honors in 2012, where I also studied Eocene fossil osteoderms from an anthill locality in Wyoming with Dr. William Bartels. I then received my MS with Dr. Samantha Hopkins at the University of Oregon Dept. of Earth Sciences, where I studied fossil newt morphology and phylogenetic relationships. Finally, I recently completed my PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Texas A&M University with Dr. A Michelle Lawing, where I was also a Fulbright Specialist in Spatial Sciences to Armenia. My dissertation examined fossil and living snakes, including taxonomic identification, geometric morphometrics, and ecometrics.

As a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Melissa Kemp’s lab at the University of Texas, I am working on living and fossil anoles from the Greater Antilles of North America. More specifThe main question of my project asks: “What are the trajectories of the phenotypes generated by rapid radiations over long-term, geologic time spans? Additionally, is the phenotypic diversity generated in an adaptive radiation reshaped by subsequent environmental changes, and if so, how?” 

In addition to my research, I am interested in developing more scientific outreach and education strategies! In my free, time, I enjoy running, exploring for wildlife, singing, and playing various games, the last of which I hope to incorporate into my scientific outreach in the future.