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Nico Franz

Nico Franz

Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Ecology, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874501
Tempe, AZ 85287-4501


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Ecology, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Curator, Frank F. Hasbrouck Insect Collection, School of Life Sciences
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation


Nico Franz studies the systematics and evolutionary history of weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) — a highly diverse lineage of plant feeding beetles estimated to include some 220,000 species worldwide. Much of his field- and morphology-based work has focused on Neotropical species groups.

He currently leads a project that will reassess the evolutionary diversification of the Exophthalmus genus complex (with some 200 species) — with implications for West Indian and Neotropical mainland biogeography.

Franz is a leading proponent of the "taxonomic concept approach" — a new method that organizes taxonomic names and groups in reference to the scientific publications in which they are described, thus leading to a more precise and computer-processable system for tracking the content and changes among classifications.

He is the curator of the Hasbrouck Insect Collection at ASU.


  • PhD, Systematic Entomology, Cornell University, 2005
  • MSc, Biology, University of Costa Rica, 1999
  • Prediploma, Biology, University of Hamburg, 1996


Journal Articles


Franz, N. and B. Sterner. 2018. To increase trust, change the social design behind aggregated biodiversity data. Database 2018(1): bax100. DOI: 10.1093/database/bax100.


Sterner, B. and N. M. Franz. 2017. Taxonomy for humans or computers? Cognitive pragmatics for big data. Biological Theory 12(2):99-111. DOI: 10.1007/s13752-017-0259-5. (link )



Stromberg, J. C., H. L. Bateman, E. Makings, N. Franz, H. Rowe, S. Beute, A. Suchy, D. Wolkis, B. Scott and R. DePuydt. 2012. Inventory and monitoring of the Salt River in Phoenix. Poster presented at 13 January 2012 CAP LTER 14th Annual Poster Symposium and All Scientist Meeting, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. (link )