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Molly R. Morris, PhD

Molly R. Morris
Professor, Biology
Life Science Bldg 243
Diabetes Institute


  • BA, Biology, Earlham College 

  • PhD, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Indiana University


  • Sexual selection
  • The evolution of female mating preferences
  • Animal communication
  • Swordtail fishes
  • Evolution of alternative reproductive tactics
  • Growth-mortality tradeoff

Summary of Work:     

My research interests are in sexual selection, variation in female mate preferences, and the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies (ARTs). In general, I am interested in the evolutionary processes that both constrain and drive biological diversity. In my lab, we examine the evolution of diversity both within and across species of Xiphophorus fishes. These small live-bearing fish, native to freshwater streams in Mexico, present a diversity of behaviors and morphologies that are ideal for examining the evolution of behavioral plasticity, female mate preferences, nutritional programming, maternal effects, the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies, and glucose tolerance. We observe behavior in the field as well as in the laboratory, incorporating molecular techniques to conduct paternity analyses and examine gene expression profiles. Recently we have also been examining the growth-mortality tradeoff that maintains ARTs and influences many sexually selected traits (both morphological and physiological), including responses to stress and glucose tolerance.


College/Department Profile

Morris Laboratory

View My Work in Google Scholar