Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Mark Moffett

Research Associate, Entomology

Ph.D. Harvard University, 1987

B.A. Beloit College, 1979

Research Interests

Social biology of ants; the emergence and organization of societies across the animal kingdom; the physical structure of rainforests and other ecosystems.

Previous positions:

  • Research Fellow, the Skeptics Society (2019 and ongoing).
  • Visiting Scholar, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University (2014-2020).
  • Research Scholar, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Duke University (2015).
  • Research appointment, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley (1998-2005).
  • Visiting Scholar in Anthropology at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University (1997-2000).
  • Research Associate, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (1991-1997).
  • Associate Curator, Entomology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (1987-1991).

Selected Publications:

  • 2021.  Ant colonies: Building complex organizations with minimal brains and no leaders. Journal of Organization Design 10:55-74 (invited review, coauthored by ten academic business leaders)
  • 2020.  Apples and oranges, ants and humans: The misunderstood art of making comparisons. Skep­tics 25(1):8-9.
  • 2019.  Marauder ants. In Encyclopedia of Social Insects. CK Starr, editor. NY: Springer, p 569-76.
  • 2017.  Outnumbered: A new dominant ant species with genetically diverse supercolonies from Ethiopia. Insectes Sociaux 64(1):141-147 (coauthors DH Sorger, M Lowman).
  • 2014.  Why ants don’t play. American Journal of Play 7(1):20-26.
  • 2013a.  Comparative canopy biology and the structure of ecosystems. Pp 13-54 in, Margaret Lowman, Soubadra Devy, and T. Ganesh, editors. Treetops at Risk: Challenges of Global Canopy Ecology and Conservation. New York: Springer.
  • 2013b.  Human identity and the evolution of societies. Human Nature 24(3):219-267.
  • 2012a.  Supercolonies of billions in an invasive ant: What is a society? Behavioural Ecology 29 (5): 1263-1265.
  • 2012b.  Supercolonies, nests, and societies: Distinguishing the forests from the trees. Behavioural Ecology 29(5):938-939.
  • 2011.  Ants and the art of war. Scientific American 305(12):84-89.