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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Faculty & Research

Faculty Profile

Armin Moczek

Photo of Armin Moczek
Contact Information
By telephone: 812-856-1468/6-1783(lab)
MY 102D / MY 102 (lab)

Moczek Lab website
Mechanisms of Behavior

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
Research Areas
  • Developmental Mechanisms and Regulation in Eukaryotic Systems
  • Ecology
  • Evolution

1996 M.S., Julius Maximilians University, Wuerzburg, Germany
2002 Ph.D., Duke University
2002-04 NIH Postdoctoral Excellence in Research & Teaching Fellow, University of Arizona


2004 Young Investigator Prize, American Society of Naturalists
2007 & 2008 Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching Award
2010/11 Long-Term Sabbatical Fellow National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
2014 Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence in Biology and Dedication to Undergraduates
2015 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Research Description

Our lab addresses a fundamental question in biology: how do novel phenotypic traits originate and diversify in nature? We use a wide range of approaches to address this question from different perspectives, and on different levels of biological organization. We use behavioral and ecological approaches in the lab and field on experimental and natural populations to understand when and how ecological processes can drive phenotypic evolution. We employ standard developmental techniques and growth manipulations to address physiological mechanisms of phenotype formation and evolution. Lastly, we rely on an increasing range of developmental-genetic and molecular tools (gene expression, gene function analysis, genomic and proteomic approaches) to investigate the genetic and genomic regulation of phenotype expression and diversification.

While each of these approaches has provided valuable insights, it has been most of all the integration across these levels of analyses that has proven most informing and fascinating.

Our study organisms have been primarily beetles in the genus Onthophagus. We have also begun to address related questions in other organisms, in particular the beetle family Lampyridae (fireflies, lightening bugs) and Drosophila, and are open to add additional organisms to our repertoire.

The Moczek laboratory offers a wide range of opportunities for postgraduate, graduate and undergraduate research in Evolution, Development and Ecology. At the same time this lab is part of one of the strongest and most diverse Biology Departments with a stellar record in integrative, crossdisciplinary work. If you are interested in joining this lab please contact Armin Moczek (armin(at)

Select Publications
Laland KN, Uller T, Feldman M, Sterelny K, Müller GB, Moczek AP, Jablonka E, Odling-Smee J 2015.  Darwin Review;  The extended evolutionary synthesis: its structure, assumptions, and predictions. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 282: 20151019.

Beckers OM, Anderson W, Moczek AP 2015. A combination of developmental plasticity, parental effects, and genetic differentiation mediates divergences in life history traits between dung beetle populations. Evolution & Development, 17: 148–159.

Moczek AP 2015. Re-evaluating the environment in developmental evolution. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 3:7.
Moczek AP, Sears, KE, Stollewerk A, Wittkopp PJ, Diggle P, Dworkin I, Ledon-Rettig C, Matus DQ, Roth S, Abouheif E, Brown FD, Chiu C, Cohen CS, De Tomaso AW, Gilbert SF, Hall B, Love A, Lyons DC, Sanger T, Smith J, Specht C, Vallejo-Marin M, Extavour CG 2015. The significance and scope of evolutionary developmental biology: a vision for the 21st century. Evolution & Development, 17: 198–219.
Snell-Rood EC, Burger M, Hutton Q, Moczek AP 2015. Effects of parental care on the accumulation and release of cryptic genetic variation: review of mechanisms and a case study of dung beetles.  Evolutionary Ecology. in press
Macagno ALM, Moczek AP, Pizzo A 2015. Concerted differentiation of nesting depth and digging appendages among tunneling dung beetle populations and species. American Naturalist. in press  
Macagno ALM, Beckers M, Moczek AP (2015). Differentiation of early ovarian development and the evolution of fecundity in rapidly diverging exotic beetle populations. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A 323: 679-688.
KijimotoT, Snell-Rood EC, Rocha G, Pespeni M, Kafadar K Moczek AP 2014. The nutritionally responsive transcriptome of the polyphenic beetle Onthophagus taurus and the importance of sexual dimorphism and body region. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, in press.
Stansbury M, Moczek AP 2014. The function of Hox and appendage patterning genes in the development of a novel organ, the Photuris firefly lantern. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 281: 1471-2954.  
Laland K, Tobias U, Feldman M, Sterelny K, Müller G, Moczek AP, Jablonka E, Odling-Smee J. 2014. Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Nature 514: 161-164.

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