Jordan Okie

Asst Research Professor (FSC)
School Of Earth & Space Explor
Associate Faculty
Biodesign Pathfinder Center

Location: TEMPE

Contact Information


Ph.D. in Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (2011). Dissertation: Metabolic ecology and allometric scaling of microorganisms and major evolutionary transitions. Advisor: James H. Brown.

Santa Fe Institute's Complex Systems Summer School, Beijing (2007)

B.A. in Biology with Distinction, Magna Cum Laude, Carleton College, MN (2003). Senior thesis: Managing for the resilience of ecosystems.

School for International Training, Tanzania (2000). Field studies on conservation, ecology, and ethnography.



Research Interests

Astrobiology, theoretical biogeochemistry, macroecology, microbial ecology and biogeography, metabolic scaling theory, major evolutionary transitions, macroevolution, sustainability, and theoretical biology. 

The unifying theme of my research is investigating the metabolic basis of ecology, evolution, and biogeography. I seek to integrate across levels of biological organization, from metabolic networks and cells to multicellular organisms and social groups. I develop biological theory based on mathematical, physical, chemical, and eco-evolutionary principles, and evaluate this theory using macroecological and molecular data. The evolution, ecology, and integrative biology of microbial communities is of particular interest to me; however, I like to pursue research in whatever biological system the questions take me. Much of my current research focuses on metabolic scaling and on the thermodynamic and kinetic effects of temperature and pH on organisms, metabolic reactions, biodiversity, and ecosystems. I also pursue research on human ecology and sustainability, collaborating with a variety of natural and social scientists to better understand and address the challenges of the Anthropocene.


Jordan Okie is a biologist, complexity scientist, and astrobiologist investigating the fundamental laws governing the distribution, organization, macroevolution, and metabolic activity of life on Earth and beyond. He has extensive field experience studying a diversity of organisms and habitats spanning five continents? from microbes to elephants and from the cold extremes of Antarctica and the Arctic to near-boiling hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. This experience inspires his current research, which employs theory/model development, bioinformatics, and macroecological approaches to uncover the laws and exceptions of life. He is also concerned with issues of human ecology and sustainability, authoring a book and widely-cited papers on these topics.

In addition to being an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), he is a Fellow of the ASU-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems, an affiliate of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes at ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability, and a member of the Network for Ecological Theory Integration (NETI). He is a former SESE Exploration Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2012), NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-14), and International Mobility Fellow at the Center for Theoretical Study of the Czech Academy of Science, Prague (2015).