John Baker

John A. Baker

Associate Research Professor
Research Fellow-George Perkins Marsh Institute
Department of Biology
Clark University
15 Maywood St.
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Office: #252; Lab: #253
Phone: 508-793-7609

Curriculum Vitae
Research Lab Website


Ph.D. University of Arkansas

Professional Background and Research Interests

My research interests focus on the life history and ecology of fishes.egg lumen My early research centered on freshwater stream fishes of the southeastern U.S., but over the last 15 years it has broadened to include my current studies on the adaptive radiation of the stickleback. Life history traits such as offspring size, fecundity, age at reproduction, and patterns of senescence are features of organisms that are especially closely linked to fitness, and freshwater fishes provide outstanding opportunities to understand the relationships between environment and life history evolution. The post-glacial adaptive radiation of the threespine stickleback fish offers particularly unique insights. In addition to life-history traits, my work with threespine stickleback also includes studies on the evolution of anti-predator armoring and related morphological traits.

My interests in fishes have always included an applied component, developed during 12 years of work at the Waterways Experiment Station (Vicksburg MS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), and later as an independent consultant. My applied has research concentrated on assessment of the effects of river regulatory practices (water diversions, dams, levees, channel alignment, etc.) on river ecosystems. Additional research interests allied to my stream work have included the ecology of riparian habitats, wetlands, impoundments and estuaries. I currently have students working on biotic inventories for streams and riparian areas within several north-central Massachusetts preserves. All of these interests are reflected in my appointment as a Research Fellow at the George Perkins Marsh Institute.

My teaching at Clark has reflected both sets of interests, as I have taught courses including Ecological Systems, Applied Ecology, Introductory Biology, Biodiversity, Ecology,and Conservation Biology.

Selected Publications:

Baker, J.A., K. Rasanen, J-S. Moore and A.P. Hendry. 2013. Genetic and plastic contributions to trait divergence between parapatric habitats: female life-history traits in threespine stickleback within the Misty Lake System. Evolutionary Ecology Research

Karve, A.D., F. A. von Hippel and J.A. Baker. 2013. Female life-history traits in a species pair of threespine stickleback in Mud Lake, Alaska. Evolutionary Ecology Research.

Baker, J.A., L.A. Ackein, D.C. Heins, R.W. King and S.A. Foster. 2013. The implications of pelvic reduction in threespine stickleback for long-term persistence of populations within the Cook Inlet region of Alaska. Evolutionary Ecology Research.

Hughes, L., S.A. Foster and J.A. Baker. 2013. Can ecotypic differences in male courtship behavior be explained by visual cues provided by female threespine stickleback? Evolutionary Ecology Research.

Wund, M.A., S. Valena, S. Wood and J.A. Baker. 2012. Ancestral plasticity and allometry in threespine stickleback fish reveal phenotypes associated with derived, freshwater ecotypes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 105: 573-583.

Wund, M.A., S. Valena, S. Wood and J.A. Baker. In press. Ancestral plasticity and allometry in threespine stickleback fish reveal phenotypes associated with derived, freshwater ecotypes. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society.

Barlow, A., J.A. Baker and D.M. Swenton. In press. The effect of incubation temperature on embryo development and fry size in five populations of Gasterosteus aculeatus. Ecology of Freshwater Fish.

Baker, J.A., D.C. Heins, R.W. King and S.A. Foster. 2011. Rapid shifts in multiple life-history traits in a population of threespine stickleback. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:863-870.

Baker, J.A., J.E. Dewey and S.A. Foster. 2010. Variation in reproductive traits of female Fourspine Stickleback (Apeltes quadracus) in Nova Scotia, Canada. Copeia 2010:437-442.

Heins, D.C., E.L. Birden and J.A. Baker. 2010. Host mortality and variability in epizootics of Schistocephalus solidus infecting the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. Parasitology 137:1681-1686.

Heins, D.C., J.A. Baker, M.A. Toups and E.L. Birden. 2010. Evolutionary significance of fecundity reduction in threespine stickleback infected by the diphyllobothriidean cestode Schistocephalus solidus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 100: 835–846.

Baker, J.A., M.A. Wund, R.Y. Chock, L., Ackein, R. Elsemore and S.A. Foster. 2010. Predation history and vulnerability: Conservation of the stickleback adaptive radiation. Biological Conservation 143(5): 1184-1192.

Wund, M.A., J.A.Baker, B.Clancy, J.L.Golub and S.A.Foster 2008. A test of the 'flexible stem' model of evolution: ancestral plasticity, genetic accommodation, and morphological divergence in the threespine stickleback radiation. American Naturalist 172:449-462.

Baker, J.A., D.C.Heins, S.A.Foster and R.W.King. 2008. An overview of life-history variation in female threespine stickleback. Behaviour 145:579-602.

Heins, D.C. and J.A.Baker. 2008. The stickleback-Schistocephalus host-parasite system as a model for understanding the effect of a macroparasite on host reproduction. Behaviour 145:625-645.

Messler, A.,M.A.Wund, J.A.Baker and S.A.Foster.sp2007. The effects of relaxed and reversed selection by predators on the antipredator behavior of the threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Ethology 113:953-963.

Baker, J.A., W.C. Cresko, D.C. Heins and S.A. Foster. 2005. Life-history differentiation of benthic and limnetic ecotypes in a polytypic population of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Evolutionary Ecology Research 7:121-131.

Heins, D.C., J.A. Baker, G. DeSilva and E.L. Birden. 2005. Clutch characteristics of two populations of nine-spined stickleback from south-central Alaska. Journal of Fish Biology 67:873-878.

Foster, S.A. and J.A. Baker. 2004. Evolution in parallel: new insights from a classic system. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:456-459.

Foster, S.A., J.A. Baker and M.A. Bell. 2003. The case for conserving threespine stickleback populations: protecting an adaptive radiation. Fisheries 28:10-18.

Baker, J.A., S.A. Foster, D.C. Heins, M.A. Bell and R.W. King. 1998. Variation in female life-history traits among Alaskan populations of the threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, L. (Pisces: Gasterosteidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 63:141-159.

Brookes, A., J.A. Baker and C.R. Redmond. 1996. Floodplain restoration and riparian zone management. Pages 201-229 in: Brookes, A. and F.D. Shields (eds.), River channel restoration: guiding principles for sustainable projects. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.

Heins, D.C., J.A. Baker and D.J. Tylicki. 1996. Reproductive season, clutch size, and egg size of the rainbow darter, Etheostoma caeruleum, from the Homochitto River, Mississippi, with an evaluation of data from the literature. Copeia 1996(4):1005-1010.

Baker, J.A. and D.C. Heins. 1994. Reproductive life history of the North American madtom catfish, Noturus hildebrandi (Bailey & Taylor 1950), with a review of data for the genus. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 3:167-175.

Research Grants:

2009 - Distribution of fish species of special concern within the Housatonic River system of western Massachusetts. Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. $17,000.

2005, and 2006 - Eastern Alliance in Science and Technology, Continuing Grants to Kathleen O'Brien (J.A.Baker Faculty Mentor). $3000 each.

2005: National science Foundation Animal Behavior Program (S.A. Foster P.I., JAB Co-PI). Ancestral Plasticity and Mating System Evolution in the Stickleback Radiation. Funding period January 1 2005- December 31, 2008. REU supplements 2005, 2006, 2007 $18,000 in total to date.