David Houle  

Contact information:

Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4295

Office: 4063 King Building 
Telephone: (850) 645-0388 Fax: (850) 644-9829 
e-mail: dhoule@bio.fsu.edu


I am an evolutionary geneticist, studying the relationship between the genotype and phenotype, and how this affects evolution. My favorite questions include:

Is evolution predictable?
What is the relationship between variation and adaptation?
What accounts for the high dimensionality of variation in phenotype?

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 software for rapid accurate characterization of fly wings is on the WINGMACHINE page. Lory is new software written by post-doc Eladio Marquez to generate hypotheses and visualizations of differences in geometric morphometric data, such as that produced for our wings.


In Fall 2012, I will teach Advanced Evolutionary Biology, a graduate course in the process of evolution.  Click for the 2010 syllabus.

In Spring 2013, I will teach undergraduate Experimental Biology on Meta-analyses of Biomedical Data.

Potential graduate students

I am looking for students who are interested in studying the genotype-phenotype map, and how the map influences the amount 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 is large, active and interactive.  The faculty in biology at Florida State complements my interests well, and offers the opportunity for a thorough grounding in population and conservation biology.

Discussion group

 I help organize a weekly discussion group on Evolution.  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.  

Description: Description: D:\Webpage\gr_paw.gifMy publications, most with pdf files.
Description: Description: D:\Webpage\gr_paw.gifAdvanced Evolutionary Biology
Description: Description: D:\Webpage\gr_paw.gifWINGMACHINE software.
Description: Description: D:\Webpage\gr_paw.gifInvasion of North America by the Drosophilid fly Zaprionus indianus  in 2005 is a research opportunity in invasion biology.
Description: Description: D:\Webpage\gr_paw.gifSeasonal Distribution of drosophilid flies in Tallahassee by Jeff Birdsley, former technician in the lab. 
Description: Description: D:\Webpage\gr_paw.gifAn artist's impression of the lab

Description: Description: D:\Webpage\gr_paw.gifDragonfly Glass. Cool stained and fused glass, featuring realistic insects.

Description: Description: D:\Webpage\rd_paw.gifHoule site index

Description: Description: D:\Webpage\owl.gif