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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Graduate Studies

Genetics, Cellular & Molecular Sciences Training Grant

Trainee Profile

Daniel Schwab

Photo of Daniel Schwab
Research Image(s)
Male Onthophagus taurus

Male Onthophagus taurus develop into discrete horned or nearly-hornless morphs depending on body size differences arising due to larval nutrition.

Graduate Student
Contact Information
By telephone: 812-856-1783 (lab)
MY 102E
Moczek Lab website
Program
Department of Biology:
Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
Education
B.S. Biology, 2012, College of William & Mary
Awards
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2012-2017
NIH Training Grant in Genetics, Cellular, and Molecular Science, 2013-2015
Research Description

I seek to understand how environmental factors influence the outcome of development and the process of developmental evolution.  In order to advance this understanding, my research focuses on two central questions, both utilizing horned beetles in the genus Onthophagus:

1) What are the genetic and physiological factors that regulate polyphenic trait development, and how do these factors bias phenotypic evolution?

The horned beetle, Onthophagus taurus, is polyphenic: males develop into discrete horned or nearly-hornless morphs depending on nutritional input during larval development. Presently, I am using RNA interference to investigate the role of DNA methylation genes in morph specification, and am performing nutrient manipulations to begin investigating the physiological basis of resource allocation trade-offs that arise from investment into horns.

2) What is the role of the microbiome in promoting normative development and in facilitating evolutionary diversification?

Many Onthophagus beetles feed exclusively on nutrient-poor dung, and are believed to require a complex gut microbiome in order to subsist. Interestingly, recent work has demonstrated that developing beetles inherit their microbiome maternally. In order to investigate the functional relevance of these microbes, I have begun rearing beetles under sterile and non-sterile conditions and quantifying the impact of these conditions on development and survival. 

Select Publications
Schwab DB, Moczek AP. Resource allocation during ontogeny is influenced by genetic, developmental, and ecological factors in the horned beetle, Onthophagus taurus. In review.
Schwab DB, Allen JD (2014). Size-specific maternal effects in response to predator cues in an intertidal snail. Marine Ecology Progress Series 499: 127-141 (doi: 10.3354/meps10652)
Select Presentations
Schwab, DB, Stamper, ML, Moczek, AP (2014). Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference. Epigenetic Horizons in the Ecological Responsiveness of Horned Beetles. Poster.
Schwab, DB, Kijimoto, T, Moczek, AP (2013). Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting. Genetic, developmental, and ecological determinants of resource allocation tradeoffs in the horned beetle, Onthophagus taurus. Talk.

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