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Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Population Biology and Ecological Genetics

  • Scott Burgess
    Evolutionary ecology and population dynamics of marine invertebrates

  • David Houle
    Genotype-to-phenotype mapping, evolution and development, evolutionary and population genetics.

  • Kimberly A. Hughes
    Evolutionary, ecological, and behavioral genomics.

  • Brian D. Inouye
    Roles of spatial and temporal variation in population and community ecology; linking theoretical and empirical approaches.

  • Don R. Levitan
    Evolutionary ecology of marine invertebrates; population biology.

  • Sophie J. McCoy
    Macroalgal populations, intertidal communities, and links between biology, environmental conditions and water chemistry.

  • Darin R Rokyta
    Molecular and statistical properties of adaptive evolution.

  • Scott Steppan
    Evolutionary biology and mammalian molecular and morphological systematics.

  • Joseph Travis
    Population dynamics and evolutionary processes, particularly the role of population density as an agent of selection.

  • Nora Underwood
    Ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions.

  • Alice A. Winn
    Plant population ecology and evolution.

  • Janie L. Wulff
    Mutualisms, life history and morphological strategies, predator defenses, and biogeography of clonal marine invertebrates, especially sponges.



Research in population biology and ecological genetics emphasizes population-level characteristics of single species and reproduction and survival rates in those populations. The work can be primarily ecological, evolutionary, or both. For example, comparisons of populations of the least killifish include ecological (how numbers are limited or regulated) and evolutionary (how genetic differences among populations are maintained) components. By seeking environmental correlates of varying survival rates among populations of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, another researcher hopes to eventually be able to test alternative management practices.

Research in ecological genetics is more evolutionary. Examples include the study of the evolution of phenotypic plasticity in leaf shapes, mechanisms of speciation and hybridization in corals, and the role of natural selection and mutation in maintaining the genetic variation found in populations of fruit flies. Various techniques (e.g. phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequences and morphological data, comparative analyses of multivariate patterns of covariation) are also being use to clarify large-scale patterns in biological diversity. These are just a few examples of the broad range of interests among this group of biologists.