Stephen Blair Hedges

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Stephen Blair Hedges
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Stephen Blair Hedges (known as S. Blair Hedges) is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Science and director of the Center for Biodiversity at Temple University where he researches the tree of life and leads conservation efforts in Haiti and elsewhere. He co-founded Haiti National Trust.


Hedges has a Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree from George Mason University, and a Masters and Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Maryland.WEB,weblink Hedges Lab - Evolutionary Biology,, 2017-04-20, Before he joined Temple University in 2014, he was a professor at Penn State.WEB,weblink Meet CST'S New Faculty Members, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, 2014, March 20, 2015, He is also a founding member of the NASA Astrobiology Center. He has published over 277 peer-reviewed works including 8 books and monographs.WEB,weblink Blair Hedges awarded Faculty Scholar Medal, March 17, 2011, Department of Biology, Penn State, March 20, 2015, He was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009 for "revealing connections between biological evolution and Earth history in diverse groups of organisms",WEB,weblink AAAS Members Elected as Fellows, AAAS, December 18, 2009, March 20, 2015, and was awarded the 2011 Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Life and Health Sciences.WEB,weblink Blair Hedges awarded Faculty Scholar Medal — Penn State University Department of Biology,, en, 2017-04-20,


Hedges has studied the relationships and timing of major groups in the tree of life using gene and genomic data WEB,weblink Hedges Lab - Evolutionary Biology,, 2017-04-20, This research has led to a number of discoveries including an early origin for the orders of placental mammals and modern birds,JOURNAL, Hedges, S. B., Parker, P. H., Sibley, C. G., Kumar, S., 1996-05-16, Continental breakup and the ordinal diversification of birds and mammals, Nature, 381, 6579, 226–229, 10.1038/381226a0, 0028-0836, 8622763, 1996Natur.381..226H, JOURNAL, Kumar, S., Hedges, S. B., 1998-04-30, A molecular timescale for vertebrate evolution, Nature, 392, 6679, 917–920, 10.1038/31927, 0028-0836, 9582070, 1998Natur.392..917K, estimates of when prokaryotes and eukaryotes first colonized land and its relevance for the planetary environment,JOURNAL, Battistuzzi, Fabia U., Hedges, S. Blair, 2009-02-01, A major clade of prokaryotes with ancient adaptations to life on land, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 26, 2, 335–343, 10.1093/molbev/msn247, 1537-1719, 18988685, JOURNAL, Heckman, D. S., Geiser, D. M., Eidell, B. R., Stauffer, R. L., Kardos, N. L., Hedges, S. B., 2001-08-10, Molecular evidence for the early colonization of land by fungi and plants,weblink Science, 293, 5532, 1129–1133, 10.1126/science.1061457, 0036-8075, 11498589, and insights on the relationships of major groups of vertebrates.JOURNAL, Hedges, S. B., Poling, L. L., 1999-02-12, A molecular phylogeny of reptiles, Science, 283, 5404, 998–1001, 0036-8075, 9974396, 10.1126/science.283.5404.998, 1999Sci...283..998B, JOURNAL, Vidal, Nicolas, Hedges, S. Blair, 2005-10-01, The phylogeny of squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians) inferred from nine nuclear protein-coding genes, Comptes Rendus Biologies, 328, 10–11, 1000–1008, 10.1016/j.crvi.2005.10.001, 1631-0691, 16286089, JOURNAL, Stanhope, Michael J., Waddell, Victor G., Madsen, Ole, de Jong, Wilfried, Hedges, S. Blair, Cleven, Gregory C., Kao, Diana, Springer, Mark S., 1998-08-18, Molecular evidence for multiple origins of Insectivora and for a new order of endemic African insectivore mammals, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 95, 17, 9967–9972, 0027-8424, 21445, 9707584, 10.1073/pnas.95.17.9967, 1998PNAS...95.9967S, JOURNAL, Fry, Bryan G., Vidal, Nicolas, Norman, Janette A., Vonk, Freek J., Scheib, Holger, Ramjan, S. F. Ryan, Kuruppu, Sanjaya, Fung, Kim, Hedges, S. Blair, 2006-02-02, Early evolution of the venom system in lizards and snakes,weblink Nature, 439, 7076, 584–588, 10.1038/nature04328, 1476-4687, 16292255, 2006Natur.439..584F, He has also coined the word timetree for a phylogenetic tree scaled to time, co-founded the TimeTree database for exploring the timescale of the tree of life, and co-edited the book Timetree of Life.BOOK, The timetree of life, Blair., Hedges, S., 1967-, Kumar, Sudhir, 2009-01-01, Oxford University Press, 978-0199535033, 268792961, Hedges and his team produced a spiral tree of life in 2015 to visualize the relationships over time of 50,000 species, and discovered that diversification and speciation are both relatively constant through time and among groups.JOURNAL, Hedges, S. Blair, Marin, Julie, Suleski, Michael, Paymer, Madeline, Kumar, Sudhir, 2017-04-20, Tree of Life Reveals Clock-Like Speciation and Diversification, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 32, 4, 835–845, 10.1093/molbev/msv037, 0737-4038, 4379413, 25739733, 1412.4312, Hedges also has a field program in the Caribbean where he has studied the evolution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles with genetic and genomic data and maintained a database of information on these species, CaribHerp. He discovered many new species in his work and has so far named 124 species of reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies weblink He also described three of the smallest species of reptiles and amphibians, including the Monte Iberia dwarf frog (Eleutherodactylus iberia) weblink, Jaragua gecko (Sphaerodactylus ariasae), and the Barbados threadsnake (Tetracheilostoma carlae). His research has been described in 11 articles in the New York Times weblink.


Recent work by Hedges and his team in Haiti has defined hot spots of biodiversity leading to the establishment of three national parks in Haiti. He also initiated a captive breeding program to conserve endangered species at Philadelphia Zoo.NEWS,weblink Blair Hedges is saving Haiti's endangered frogs, Mihelich, Peggy, January 4, 2012, AAAS MemberCentral, March 20, 2015, Together with Haitian CEO Philippe Bayard, he founded Haiti National Trust, dedicated to save and protect the environment and biodiversity of Haiti for future generations.

Personal life

Hedges is interested in Renaissance art, which led him to conduct several scientific studies of early artwork, including the development of a method for dating old printsWEB,weblink SCIENCE ILLUSTRATED; Old, but Just How Old? Making Early Prints Give Up Their Secrets, O'Connell, Frank, New York Times, July 25, 2006, October 3, 2016, and a study on the historical biogeography of beetles based on the holes they bored in old books.WEB,weblink In Art Prints, Clues to Beetles in Europe, Bhanoo, Sindya, New York Times, November 26, 2012, October 3, 2016,



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