Rosemary Gillespie holds the Schlinger Chair in Systematic Entomology. She is president elect of the American Genetics Association, past president of the International Biogeography Society, trustee and fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, senior editor for Molecular Ecology, and associate editor for Journal of Biogeography. Her primary research uses islands as model systems to understand ecological and evolutionary processes. Hotspot archipelagoes, such as Hawaii, provide a temporal framework of islands that allows one to synthesize ecological and evolutionary perspectives. She uses this framework to integrate macroecological (interaction networks and maximum entropy inference) and evolutionary (population genetics and phylogenetics) approaches to build a predictive understanding of the dynamic interplay between ecology and evolution in shaping the ecology of complex ecosystems.
As part of her interest in biodiversity dynamics, she is co-lead of the UC Berkeley Institute for Global Change Biology (BiGCB), which aims to develop a universal protocol for guiding global change research, for example, in characterizing the early warning signs that precede irreparable damage to ecosystems. This effort involves building the informatics infrastructure needed to access, visualize, and analyze the rich data associated with museum collections, field stations, and other data sources. One component involves ways to accelerate the rate of digitization of label data through crowdsourcing (Notes from Nature).