Julian Torres-Dowdall Assistant Professor

Ecological and Evolutionary Biology
Julian Torres-Dowdall

Research Interests:

Our research group investigates the causes and consequences of adaptive evolution. We study patterns of intra- and inter-specific phenotypic variation along ecological gradients to understand how genetic and developmental variation interact with the environment to determine evolutionary trajectories and generate diversity. To address these research goals, we use an integrative approach combining field, laboratory, and statistical approaches to identify the genetic, molecular, and environmental drivers of variation. Our emphasis is on the evolution of life history traits and color vision in fish. Fish have a diverse ecology and evolutionary history and are relatively easy to keep under controlled conditions providing a good study system. The strong theory behind the evolution of life history traits and the tractable genotype-phenotype-performance relationship of color vision make these traits excellent to study the effects of natural selection on phenotypic variation in natural populations.



  • Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame. Fall 2022
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Project Leader. Department of Biology. University of Konstanz. Germany. 2015-2022
  • Marie Curie - Zukunftskolleg Postdoctoral Fellow. Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz. Germany. 2013-2015
  • Postdoctoral Researcher. Department of Biology. University of Konstanz. Germany. 2012-2013
  • PhD. Department of Biology, Colorado State University. 2012
  • Fulbright Doctorate Fellow. Fulbright OAS Fellowship in Ecology. Department of Biology. Colorado State University. 2005-2007
  • M.Sc. Wildlife Management. Centro de Zoología Aplicada. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. 2005
  • B.A. Biology, Zoology. Facultad de Ciencias Naturales. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina


Selected Publications:

  • Torres-Dowdall J., Rometsch S.J., Aguilera G., Kautt A.F., Reyes-Velasco J., Goyenola G., Petry A., Deprá G., da Graça, W., Meyer A. (2022) Genetic assimilation and the evolution of direction of genital asymmetry in anablepid fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286: 20220266.
  • Karagic N., Härer A., Meyer A., Torres-Dowdall J. (2022) Thyroid hormone tinkering elicits integrated phenotypic changes potentially explaining rapid adaptation of color vision in cichlid fish. Evolution 74: 837-845.
  • Mauro A.*, Torres-Dowdall J.*, Marshall C.A., Ghalambor C.K (2021) A genetically based ecological trade- off contributes to setting a geographic range limit. Ecology Letters 24: 2739–2749.
  • Torres-Dowdall J., Karagic N.§, Härer A.§, Meyer A. (2021) Convergent evolution of visual sensitivity in cichlid fishes via differential opsin gene expression and intraretinal variation in visual pigments. Molecular Ecology 30: 1880–1891.
  • Kautt A., Kratochwil C.F., Nater A., Machado-Schiaffino G., Olave M., Henning F., Torres-Dowdall J., Härer A., Hulsey C.D., Franchini P., Pippel M., Myers E.W., Meyer A. (2020) Contrasting signatures of genomic divergence during sympatric speciation. Nature 588: 106–111.
  • Torres-Dowdall J., Rometsch S.J.§, Kautt A.F., Aguilera G., and Meyer A. (2020) The direction of genital asymmetry is expressed stochastically in internally fertilizing anablepid fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 287:20200969.
  • Rometsch S.J.§, Torres-Dowdall J., and Meyer A. (2020) Evolutionary dynamics of pre- and postzygotic reproductive isolation in cichlid fishes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 375:20190535.


View all of Publications: https://www.torres-dowdall.com/publications.html