Young Scholar Program Luo, E. (2015). It Takes Two to Tango: A study of female mating behavior of the sailfin molly. Florida State University.
Fan, A. (2013). A seasonal study of the standard length and sexual behavior of the male P. latipinna. Florida State University.
Duvault, A. (2013). Starvation resistance, fat storage, and fecundity in Drosophila melanogaster. Florida State University.
Veloza, D. (2013). Wild versus lab-reared female mosquitofish responses to olfactory stimuli. Florida State University.
Research and Original Creative Work Program of Research and/or Focus of Original Creative Work One of the central goals of evolutionary biology is to understand the causes and consequences of diversity among individuals, populations, and species. One especially striking and general feature of both humans and other organisms is that individuals within species are highly genetically diverse, even if they are from the same local population. The existence of such diversity is a longstanding paradox because natural selection and other evolutionary processes tend erode genetic diversity. My research focuses on understanding how this diversity arises and persists. In other words, I am interested in how individuality arises and is maintained, at the genetic level. For example, individual diversity can be generated by mutation faster than it can be eliminated by natural selection; this is a non-adaptive explanation for genetic diversity. Alternatively, diversity can be actively maintained by some special patterns of natural selection (this is an adaptive explanation). My research group conducts experiments to measure individual genetic diversity in traits that are important to organisms in their natural environment (e.g., traits related maturation, reproduction and survival), to identify genes underlying this diversity, and to determine the evolutionary and ecological processes responsible for promoting and maintaining diversity. We are currently investigating different aspects of this question, ranging from dissecting the molecular basis of lifespan in fruit flies to determining if social interactions promote genetic diversity in fishes. We use many different techniques including gene mapping, gene expression analysis, analysis of brain activation, population genetics, quantitative genetics, and field studies of organisms in nature. My group has worked with many different organisms including fruit flies, honey bees, and Trinidad guppies. Since moving to FSU in 2008, we have become increasingly interested in native fish species that are important in local ecosystems including mosquitofish and sailfin mollies, and we recently received a four-year NSF grant to study the effects of social interactions on the maintenance of diversity in mosquitofish.