Jeffrey Feder Professor

Professor of Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics
Jeffrey Feder

Research Interests:

My lab is interested in the relationship between ecological adaptation at both the phenotypic and genomic levels and speciation. A main study organism is the apple maggot fly, Rhagoletis pomonella, a classic example of ecological speciation in action. These flies attract the attention of evolutionary biologists because they appear to speciate sympatrically by shifting and adapting to new host plants. Recently, the species R. pomonella shifted from its native host hawthorn,Crataegus spp, to introduced, domestic apples, Malus pumila. This shift, which occurred approximately 150 years ago in the northeastern United States, provides a unique historical context in which to examine the relationship between host specialization and speciation in action, in real time, in our own backyards.



  • Full Professor, Dept. Biological Sciences, Univ. of Notre Dame 2006-Present
  • Associate Professor, Dept. Biological Sciences, Univ. of Notre Dame 1999-2005
  • Assistant Professor, Dept. Biological Sciences, Univ. of Notre Dame 1993-1999
  • Fellow, Wissenshaftskolleg zu Berlin (German National Center for Advanced Study) 2008-2009


Recent Papers:

  • Ragland, G.J., Almskaar, K., Duong, K.L., Gough, H.M., Huddleston, J., Feder, J.L., Hahn, D.A., and Schwarz, D. Differences in fitness and transcriptome-wide gene expression associated with Rhagoletis (Diptera: Tephritidae) larvae feeding in alternate host fruit environments. Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/mec.13191.
  • Egan, S.P., Greg Ragland, G.J., Assour, L., Powell, T.H. Q.Hood, G.R., Emrich, S., Nosil, P. and Feder, J.L. 2015. Experimental evidence natural selection drives genome-wide divergence during sympatric speciation. Ecology Letters 18: 817-825. (F1000 recommended; Featured on NSF website).
  • Egan, S.P., Grey, Olds, E.B., Feder, J.L., Ruggiero, S.T., Tanner, C.E., and Lodge, D.M. 2015. Molecular detection of invasive species in ballast and harbor water using environmental DNA and Light Transmission Spectroscopy. Environmental Science and Technology 49(7):4113-21. doi: 10.1021/es5058659. Epub 2015 Mar 13.
  • Feder, J.L., Flaxman, S.M., and Nosil, P. 2014. Assessing when chromosomal rearrangements affect the dynamics of speciation: implications from computer simulations. Frontiers in Genetics doi: 10.3389/fgene.2014.00295.
  • Soria-Carrasco, V., Gompert, Z., Comeault, A.A., Farkas, T.E., Parchman, T.L., Johnson, J.S., Buerkle, C.A., Feder, J.L., Bast, J., Schwander, T., Egan, S.P., Crespi, B.J., and Nosil, P. 2014. Stick Insect Genomes Reveal Natural Selection’s Role in Parallel Speciation. Science 344: 738-742 (Research featured on cover of journal Science and in feature in Science on Aug. 8th, 2014 issue).
  • Flaxman, S.M., Wacholder, A.C., Feder, J.L. and Nosil, P. 2014. Genomic architecture drives the rapid origin of new species. Molecular Ecology 23: 4074–4088. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12750.
  • Seehausen, O., Feder, J.L., and co-authors. 2014. Integrating Genomic Data and Theory in the Study of Speciation. Nature Genetics Reviews 15: 176–192.
  • Gompert, Z., A.A. Comeault, T.E. Farkas, J.L. Feder, T.L. Parchman, C.A. Buerkle, and P. Nosil. 2014. Experimental evidence for ecological selection on genome variation in the wild. Ecology Letters 17: 369-379.
  • Powell, T., Hood, G.R., Egan, S.P., and Feder, J.L. 2014. Genetic differentiation among hawthorn-infesting populations of Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) in the southern United States and its implication for endemic host race formation. Molecular Ecology 23: 688-704.