Dr. Armin Moczek – Indiana University
Armin Moczek received his graduate training first in Germany at the University of Würzburg as a Masters student, advised by Bert Hölldobler, and then at Duke University as a PhD student, advised by Fred Nijhout. Originally sure he would become a tropical ecologist, Dr. Moczek developed a growing interest in evolutionary developmental biology during his PhD, and in particular the role of developmental plasticity in enabling and shaping morphological and behavioral innovation and diversification, specifically in horned beetles. After graduating from Duke in 2002 he spent 2.5 years as a fellow of the NIH Postdoctoral Excellence in Research and Teaching Program (PERT) at the University of Arizona, advised by Lisa Nagy, and started his faculty position at Indiana University in 2004, where he is now a Professor of Biology.
Dr. Moczek’s research focuses on the origins and diversification of novel complex traits. His goal is to identify the genetic, developmental, and ecological mechanisms, as well as their interactions, that enable innovation and diversification in nature, and allow novelty to emerge from the confines of ancestral variation. Most of his work focuses on the horns of scarab beetles, while side projects have explored the origins of light-producing organs in fireflies as well as the unbelievably diverse and bizarre helmets of treehoppers. His talk will (i) present the most recent results on the role of developmental cooption and rewiring in the origin(s) of horns, (ii) explore the means by which horns have diversified along major axes of diversification, including relative size and position as well as sex- and nutrition-specific elaboration, and (iii) discuss the roles of reproductive behavior and parental care in shaping developmental evolution in horned beetles.
Ryan McEwan has many things to say and also ideas about plants and streams. He has run the 100 meter dash in less than 2 minutes. He has taken on a serious study of pickling cucumbers resulting in a recipe that includes peppercorns, salt, and mustard seeds. On holidays he plays Ping-Pong on a makeshift table in his dining room after drinking several Moscow Mule’s.
At work he studies the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function relationship in temperate and tropical forests and also how the interaction between terrestrial and aquatic systems is modified by the invasion of exotic plants.
Dr. McEwan’s makeshift ping-pong table in his dining room, complete with a Moscow Mule in hand.