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Dr. Ken Spitze

Evolutionary Biology, Genetics




Ph.D. University of Illinois (Dept. of Ecology, Ethology and Evolution)

B.S. University of Illinois (Magna Cum Laude, High Distinction)


Research Interests

My research lies in the areas of population genetics and evolutionary ecology. I am interested in learning how natural selection leads to population differentiation for life history characters. I have a particular interest in the role of predation. My most noted contributions have been the development of mathematical tools for detecting the action of selection in leading to population differentiation for quantitative characters, and the exploration genetic variation for inducible defenses that have evolved in the microcrustacean Daphnia in response to predation by the larval dipteran Chaoborus.

I am continuing research in these areas, but have recently begun to explore the importance of sexual selection in Daphnia. At present, I am focusing on the elements of environmental sex determination in Daphnia. I will follow this up by looking for non-random mating with respect to life history characters, and then the mechanisms responsible.