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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Faculty & Research

Faculty Profile

Lynda Delph

Photo of Lynda Delph
Research Images
Research photo by Lynda Delph

Silene.

Professor of Biology; Evolution, Ecology & Behavior Section Associate Chair

IU Affiliations
Indiana Molecular Biology Institute

Contact Information
By telephone: 812-855-1831/5-7597(lab)
JH 119B / JH 116/121 (lab)

Delph Lab website

Program
Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
Research Areas
  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Plant Molecular Biology
Education

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University, 1989
Ph.D., University of Canterbury, 1988
M.Sc., University of Arizona, 1983
B.Sc., University of Arizona, 1979

Awards

1994-95 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award
1995 Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence in Biology and Dedication to Undergraduates
2000 Teaching Excellence Recognition Award
2005 Trustees’ Teaching Award
2005 Guggenheim Fellowship
2010 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 

Research Description

I am generally interested in evolutionarily based questions concerning various aspects of flowering plant reproduction from both ecological and genetic perspectives.  At a more general level, my research focuses on understanding selective forces in natural populations and the extent to which adaptation is slowed or prevented by genetic constraints.

Past research includes: (1) an investigation of the forces that select for unisexuality rather than hermaphroditism, and how this affects other plant traits, (2) the evolution of sexual dimorphism given underlying genetic correlations, (3) pollen competition, (4) how flower size and number can affect plant fitness, (5) inbreeding and inbreeding depression, and (6) a multitude of questions on gynodioecious species, including the maintenance of females and the cost of restoration.

My current research revolves around the dioecious plant species Silene latifolia.  It’s basically a look at how selection can drive sexual dimorphism and how genetic correlations can constrain adaptive evolution. My collaborators and I are taking a variety of approaches including: artificial selection to change the means of traits as well as the genetic correlations between traits, quantitative-genetic breeding designs, experimental arrays planted in the field, QTL analysis, and among-population studies involving both work in natural populations and the greenhouse. I am also interested in how genetic diversity shapes the spread of infectious disease.

Students in my lab don’t necessarily work on my system.  In fact, most of them work on species and questions that are related, but separate from my own.  For example, my past students have worked on gynodioecious and dioecious species, inbreeding depression, adaptive phenotypic plasticity, pollen competition, and the maintenance of flower color polymorphism.

Select Publications
Demuth, J. P., R. J. Flanagan, and L. F. Delph.  2014.  Genetic architecture of isolation between two species of Silene with sex chromosomes and Haldane’s rule.  Evolution 68: 332-342.
Delph, L. F., J. C. Steven, I. A. Anderson, C. R. Herlihy, and E. D. Brodie III. 2011. Elimination of a genetic correlation between the sexes via artificial correlational selection. Evolution 65: 2872-2880.
Delph, L. F., J. Andicoechea, J. C. Steven, C. R. Herlihy, S. V. Scarpino, and D. L. Bell. 2011. Environment-dependent intralocus sexual conflict in a dioecious plant. New Phytologist 192: 542-552.
Delph, L. F., A. M. Arntz, C. Scotti-Santiagne, and I. Scotti. 2010.  Quantitative trait loci and genomic architecture of sexual dimorphism in the dioecious plant Silene latifolia. Evolution 64:2873-2886.
Brothers, A. N. and L. F. Delph. 2010. Haldane's rule is extended to plants with sex chromosomes. Evolution 64:3643-3648.
Touzet, P. and L. F. Delph. 2009. The effect of breeding system on polymorphism in mitochondrial genes of Silene. Genetics 181:631-644.
Steven, J. C., L. F. Delph, and E. D. Brodie III. 2007. Sexual dimorphism in the quantitative-genetic architecture of floral, leaf, and allocation traits in Silene latifolia. Evolution 61: 42-57.
Delph, L. F., P. Touzet, and M. F. Bailey. 2007. Merging theory and mechanism in studies of gynodioecy. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22:17-24.
Scotti, I and L. F. Delph. 2006. Selective trade-offs and sex-chromosome evolution in Silene latifolia. Evolution 60: 1793-1800.
Delph, L. F. and T.-L. Ashman. 2006. Trait selection in flowering plants: how does sexual selection contribute? Integrative and Comparative Biology 46: 465 - 472.
Delph, L. F., J. L. Gehring, A. M. Artnz, M. Levri, and F. M. Frey. 2005. Genetic correlations with floral display lead to sexual dimorphism in the cost of reproduction. American Naturalist 166: S31-S41.

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