Places to Stay




Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference

Florida State University, March 28-30, 2008


Joseph Travis

Plenary Lecture

7pm Friday March 28, 2008


Biographical Sketch

Link to Joe's Website

Joseph Travis is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Biological Science at Florida State University and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his doctoral degree from Duke University. Travis joined the faculty in Biological Science at Florida State in 1980 and rose through the faculty ranks, serving as Chair of the Biological Science Department chair from 1991-1997 and from 2000-2005 as Director of the Program in Computational Science.

Travis’ research has been concentrated at the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology, focused particularly on how ecological forces act as agents of natural selection on life histories. His early work investigated how predators, crowding, and environmental uncertainty selected for patterns of growth and development in larval amphibians. Subsequent work focused on how several selective agents - thermal regime, salinity, predators, and mating preferences - acted in different combinations in different populations to maintain striking local differences among populations in the morphology, life history and reproductive characters of the livebearing fish, the sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna). The chief subject of his present research is how different patterns of numerical dynamics in local populations exert different selective pressures on the life history and mating behavior of the least killifish, Heterandria formosa.

All of this research has balanced ecological with genetic components. The recent work with least killifish populations has included ecological studies of comparative numerical dynamics, predator-prey interactions, and trophic structure; it has also included genetic analyses of population structure, paternity patterns in natural populations, and quantitative characters. Students from the Travis lab have worked on a variety of topics from species interactions in Amazonian frogs to the genetic and environmental controls of color pattern and retinal characteristics of bluefin killifish. The National Science Foundation has supported Travis’ research since 1981 and awards from the NSF have helped train twenty doctoral students (fourteen completed dissertations, six current students), eight masters’ degree students, and provided stipend support for nearly one hundred graduate and undergraduate students since 1981. His current research is supported by an award from the National Science Foundation and an award from the Alabama Wildlife Commission.

Travis has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Oecologia, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, and The American Naturalist. He served as editor of The American Naturalist from 1998 to 2002 and as Vice-President (1994) and President (2005) of the American Society of Naturalists. In 1991, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Travis has served on several program advisory panels for the National Science Foundation: Population Biology, Research Experiences for Undergraduates - Sites, and Undergraduate Mentorships in Environmental Biology. He is currently serving on the Advisory Council for the Directorate in Biological Sciences and the cross-directorate Advisory Council for Environmental Research and Education, which reports to NSF Director Arden Bement. From 1999-2002, he served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, chairing the board in 2001-2002. He has served on several external review panels for biology departments at various universities and continues to serve the National Marine Fisheries Service as a member of the Recovery Science Review Panel for Pacific Salmon.