of Biological Science
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4295
4063 King Building
Telephone: (850) 645-0388 Fax: (850) 644-9829
Welcome to the Houle lab!
I am an evolutionary geneticist, studying the process of adaptation at the phenotypic level. My favorite questions include:
Is evolution predictable?
What is the relationship between variation and adaptation?
Why should animals care who their mates are?
In my lab, we use Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly, as an experimental organism. Flies are wonderful for evolutionary studies because they have interesting and complex adaptations and behaviors, yet are easily and rapidly reared.
The major experimental project in the lab is to use the wing of Drosophila as a model to understand the relationship between genotype and phenotype, and how this affects evolution. We are manipulating gene expression at particular genes to understand how development affects the phenotype, and infer the pattern of effects across the genome. These data are then compared to our extensive data on the effects of mutation, variation and divergence of wing shape in the genus Drosophila. We continue to develop approaches to automated measurements of morphological phenotypes. Our Wings software for rapid accurate characterization of fly wings is on the Software page. We also offer Lory, written by post-doc Eladio Marquez, a program to aid in the interpretation of differences in geometric morphometric data.
In Spring 2014, I will teach undergraduate Experimental Biology on meta-analysis of biomedical data.
In Fall 2014, I will teach Advanced Evolutionary Biology, a graduate course in the process of evolution. Click for the 2012 syllabus.
Potential graduate students
I am looking for students who are interested in studying the genotype-phenotype map, and how the map influences the amont and direction of evolution. I would also be happy to have students in many areas of experimental or theoretical evolutionary genetics that overlap my interests. The graduate group in Ecology and Evolution at Florida State.
I help organize a weekly discussion group on Evolutionary Genetics. It is open to the department's graduate students, faculty, and interested undergraduates. We will follow the interests of our participants, but these will likely continue to include evolutionary genetics. Please contact me to be put on the mailing list for this.
My publications, most with pdf files.
Invasion of North America by the Drosophilid fly Zaprionus indianus in 2005 is a research opportunity in invasion biology.
Seasonal Distribution of drosophilid flies in Tallahassee by Jeff Birdsley, former technician in the lab.
An artist's impression of the lab
Advanced Evolutionary Biology
Function valued traits site. This site includes basic information on how to study a phenotype which is itself a function, like the outline of a Drosophila wing.
Dragonfly Glass. Cool stained and fused glass, featuring realistic insects.