The College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin

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Daniel Bolnick
Associate Professor

Main Office: PAT 607A
Phone: 512 471-2824

Alternate Office: PAT 606-612
Alt. Phone: 512 471-1964

Mailing Address
University of Texas at Austin
Section of Integrative Biology
1 University Station, C0930
Austin ,TX 78712

Daniel Bolnick

Research Summary

Work on my lab is focused on the following themes: 1. What is the genetic, immunological, and ecological basis of host adaptation to spatially heterogeneous parasite communities? This work includes field experiments testing local adaptation by hosts and parasites, analyses of selection and population genetics of candidate genes and the genome, and immunological measures of host responses to pathogens. 2. How is genetic and phenotypic variation maintained within populations despite the generally purifying effect of natural selection? Specifically, under what conditions does natural selection or mating system promote genetic variation? We focus on variation in feeding behavior, trophic morphology, immunology, and male color, and the relationships between these variables. 3. How does genetic and phenotypic variation within populations affect the outcome of ecological community dynamics? We focus on a range of ecological interactions, including gut-microbe communities, to parasite communities, to prey and predator communities and food webs. 4. What ecological and genetic processes promote adaptive divergence between populations, and when is this adaptation going to occur in parallel or not? 4. What is the ecological and genetic basis of speciation? In pursuing this work, we use a combination of observational field work, field and lab experiments, population genetics/genomics, immunology, and mathematical theory. Most work in the lab uses the threespine stickleback as a model organism. Specific projects include: 1) Tests of balancing selection, frequency-dependent selection, and spatial heterogeneity in maintaining diversity at MHC loci in three-spine stickleback. 2) Quantitative genetic analysis to understand the genetic basis of immunological adaptation to spatially varying parasite communities. 3) Evaluating the role of diet variation in assortative mating within populations of threespine stickleback. 4) Building mathematical models to understand the ecological effects of diet variation and assortative mating within species. 5) Investigating the relationship between natural selection and adaptive habitat preferences in adaptation.



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