November 2018

Cheyenne Defense

Congratulations to Dr. Cheyenne Tait, who successfully defended her dissertation, “Mechanisms of ecological divergence and speciation: Genetic and neurophysiological bases for fruit volatile discrimination behavior in the apple maggot fly (Rhagoletis pomonella)” on November 16!

August 2018


Congratulations to Dr. Mary Glover, who successfully defended her dissertation, “The ecological and evolutionary drivers of speciation in walnut-infesting flies” on August 13!

May 2018

COS-Jam crew, May 2018

Congratulations to our class of 2018 undergraduate researchers: Katherine Inskeep, ShinHae Kim, Lydia Piendel, Tony Molinaro, and Dung Nguyen!

Congratulations to Meredith Doellman! She has just published the first part of her dissertation in a special edition of Genes, with many of the extended Rhagoletis “family” as co-authors. Check it out!

Genomic Differentiation during Speciation-with-Gene-Flow: Comparing Geographic and Host-Related Variation in Divergent Life History Adaptation in Rhagoletis pomonella

February 2018

A paper on the walnut flies, from the Rhagoletis suavis species complex by graduate student Mary Glover has been published in Insect Systematics and Diversity.

Phylogeography of Walnut-Infesting Rhagoletis suavis (Diptera: Tephritidae) Flies

December 2016

Grad student Cheyenne Tait is lead author on a paper just published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B!

Sensory specificity and speciation: a potential neuronal pathway for host fruit odour discrimination in Rhagoletis pomonella

June 2016

Jeff Feder is co-PI on a recently funded 4 year, $2 million NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity grant. We will collaborate with researchers from University of Florida (Dan Hahn), University of Colorado Denver (Greg Ragland), and Binghamton University (Tom Powell), examine the coevolution of life history timing across insect trophic levels from the perspectives of sequential ecological speciation and the maintenance of temporal synchrony of insect communities under climate change. See the ND press release for details.

May 2016

On May 16th, Glen Hood successfully defended his PhD dissertation. He is now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Rice University Academy of Fellows. Congratulations Dr. Hood!

October 2015

Hannes Schuler, an Erwin Schrödinger Postdoctoral Fellow, wrote about his experiences in the Feder Lab for scilog , the magazine of the Austrian Science Fund FWF.

October 2015

Photo Credit: Hannes Schuler

Grad student Glen Hood’s work on sequential divergence in the community of Rhagoletis-attacking parasitoids was recently published in PNAS:

Sequential divergence and the multiplicative origin of community diversity

Understanding how new life forms originate is a central question in biology. Population divergence is usually studied with respect to how single lineages diverge into daughter taxa. However, populations may not always differentiate in isolation; divergence of one taxon could create new niche opportunities in higher trophic levels, leading to the sequential origin of many new taxa. Here, we show that this may be occurring for three species of parasitoid wasps attacking Rhagoletis fruit flies. As flies shift and adapt to new host plants, wasps follow suit and diverge in kind, resulting in a multiplicative increase of diversity as the effects of ecologically based divergent selection cascade through the ecosystem. Biodiversity therefore may potentially beget increasing levels of biodiversity.

June 2015

Scott Egan, now a faculty member at Rice University, was lead author on a paper in Ecology Letters! In this study, we used RADseq to demonstrate that experimental selection on Rhagoletis pomonella of the hawthorn race can produce genome-wide changes that parallel natural genomic divergence between hawthorn and apple race flies.

Experimental evidence of genome-wide impact of ecological selection during early stages of speciation-with-gene-flow

April 2014

Second year graduate student Cheyenne Tait received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, to fund her work on the neurophysiology of host odor preference in Rhagoletis pomonella host races. Congratulations Cheyenne!

January 20, 2012


A special theme issue on speciation by Royal Society Publishing in Great Britain was compiled and edited by Patrik Nosil (University of Colorado at Boulder) and Jeffrey L Feder (University of Notre Dame). Entitled Patterns and processes of genomic divergence during speciation , the Feb. 5, 2012 issue features 13 contributions that explore the genomic perspective of speciation, the fundamental process responsible for the diversity of life. In addition to co-authoring the introduction to the theme issue, Dr. Feder is first author of one of the featured articles. Founded in 1660, the Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the United Kingdom, dedicated to promoting excellence in science. The print issue is available at the special price of £47.50. Order online via the web page (enter special code TB1587 when prompted).
Go to issue contents

February, 2009

Andrew Forbes

Andrew Forbes, a former Feder lab graduate student who received his PhD in Biology from Notre Dame in 2008, recently published a paper in Science, one of the most respected scientific journals in the world. Now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Davis, Andrew was first author of the publication based on his dissertation research in sympatric speciation. In the Science article, Forbes and co-authors demonstrate that the introduction of apples to America almost 400 years ago may have ultimately changed the behavior of a fruit fly, leading to its modification and the subsequent modification of a parasitic wasp that feeds on it. The result is a chain reaction of biodiversity where the modification of one species triggers the sequential modification of a second, dependent species.
Go to ND News article
Go to Science article

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