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Ken Spitze


B.S. University of Illinois, 1982

Ph.D. University of Illinois, 1989

Asst., Assoc. Professor (tenured), University of Miami, 1991-2002

Lecturer, University of West Georgia, 2009-2013

Associate Scientist, Indiana University, 2013-



My research has focused on phenotypic selection and evolution, particularly with regard to life history evolution in predatory-prey interactions. My primary model system has been the predaceous aquatic larvae of the dipteran Chaoborus americanus and the temporary-pond dwelling microcrustaceans Daphnia pulex and D. obtusa. I have worked on several questions involving patterns of quantitative genetic variation in Daphnia, and have developed a metric (Qst) that has become widely used in testing for the action of natural selection in leading to population differentiation. I have also worked extensively on predator-mediated inducible defenses in Daphnia.
Currently, I have switched gears by getting involved in a large population genomics project on Daphnia. In addition to gaining more basic understanding the characteristics of the genome of these organisms, we will explore the patterns of the intra- and inter-population variation. With the genomics tools that will emerge from this work, we intend to search for the genetic basis of quantitative characters, such as those associated with life histories, inducible defenses, reproductive compatibility, and obligate asexuality.

Select Publications

Spitze, K. 1985. Functional response of an ambush predator: Chaoborus americanus predation on Daphnia pulex. Ecology 66:938-949.

Crease, T. J., M. Lynch, and K. Spitze. 1990. Hierarchical analysis of population genetic variation in mitochondrial and nuclear genes of Daphnia pulex. Molecular Biology and Evolution 7:444-458.

Spitze, K. 1991. Chaoborus predation and life-history evolution in Daphnia pulex: Temporal pattern of population diversity, fitness, and mean life history. Evolution 45:82-92.

Spitze, K. 1992. Predator-mediated plasticity of prey life-history and morphology: Chaoborus americanus predation on Daphnia pulex. American Naturalist 139:229-247.

Spitze, K. 1993. Population structure in Daphnia obtusa: quantitative genetic and allozymic variation. Genetics135:367-374.

Spitze, K., and T. D. Sadler. 1996. The evolution of a generalist genotype: multivariate analysis of the adaptiveness of phenotypic plasticity. American Naturalist 148:S108-S123.

Lynch, M., M. Pfrender, K. Spitze, N. Lehman, D. Allen, J. Hicks, L. Latta, M. Ottone, F. Bogue, and J. Colbourne. 1999. The quantitative and molecular genetic architecture of a subdivided species: Daphnia pulex. Evolution 53:100-110.

Pfrender, M. E., K. Spitze, J. Hicks, K. Morgan, L. Latta, and M. Lynch. 2000. Lack of concordance between genetic diversity estimates at the molecular and quantitative-trait levels. Conservation Genetics 1: 263-269.

Berendonk, T. U., K. Spitze and W. C. Kerfoot. 2009. Ephemeral metapopulations show high genetic diversity at regional scales. Ecology 90: 2670-2675.