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. In this regard, I am also interested in the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of vector-borne diseases of humans, including Chagas and Malaria. I have recently received funding from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute to develop genetic diagnostics tools to combate Chagas disease and their kissing bug vectors. As a faculty member at Notre Dame, I am associated with the University's Environmental Change  Initiative, Eck Institute for Global Health, Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics center, and Integrated Biomedical Sciences graduate program. 



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


Recent Papers:

  • Nosil, P., Villoutreix, R., de Carvalho, C.F., Farka, T.E., Soria-Carrasco, V., Muschick, M., Riesch, R., Feder, J.L., Crespi, B.J., Gompert, Z. 2018. Natural selection and the predictability of evolution in Timema stick insects Science 359: 765-770 DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9125.
  • Struck, T.H., Feder, J.L., Bendiksby, M., Birkeland, S., Cerca de Oliveira, J., Gusarov, V.I., Kistenich, S., Larson, K.H., Liow, L.H., Nowak, M.D., Stedje, B., Bachmann, L., Dimitrov D. 2017. Finding evolutionary processes hidden in cryptic species. Trends in Ecology and Evolution DOI:
  • Feder, J.L., Nosil, P., Gompert, Z., Flaxman, S.M. and Schilling, M.P. 2017. Barnacles, barrier loci, and the systematic building of species. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30(8):1494-1497. doi: 10.1111/jeb.13105.
  • Ragland, G.J., Meyers, P., Doellman, M., Hood, G.R.,Egan, S.P., Powell, T.H.Q., Nosil, P., Hahn, D.H., and Feder, J.L. 2017. Genomic architecture of divergent life history adaptation between host races of Rhagoletis fruit flies. Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/mec.14178.
  • Riesch, R., Muschick, M., Lindtke, D., Villoutreix, R., Comeault, A., Farkas, T., Lucek, K., Hellen, E., Soria-Carrasco, V., D., Safran, R.J., Sandoval, C.P., Feder, J.L., Gries, R., Crespi, B,J., Gries, G., Gompert , Z., and Nosil, P. 2017. Transitions between phases of genomic differentiation during stick-insect speciation. Nature Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1038/s41559-016-0082
  • Nosil, P., Feder, J.L., Flaxman, S.M., Gompert, Z. 2017. Tipping points in the dynamics of speciation. Nature Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1038/s41559-016-0001.
  • 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.