Link:

Fedorka Lab Website

Research Interests

Individuals are the amalgamation of various traits that are integrated into a single organism. My general interests are in uncovering how these traits are shaped by natural selection, and  how their integration constrains their capacity to evolve. To help me understand these fundamental facets of evolution, I have focused my efforts at the mircoevolutionary scale, examining contemporary selection and integration of phenotypes at the population and sub-organismal level. Although my research objectives are generalizable to all animals, I have come to rely heavily on two insect systems, including the ground cricket Allonemobius socius and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Both systems offer me the ease of laboratory manipulation while also providing the opportunity for field-based projects.

Like the organisms I study, my research program has also become an amalgamation of traits, drawing theory and technique from several different disciplines within evolutionary biology, including sexual selection, ecological immunology and evolutionary ecology.  These disciplines have provided me with the tools needed to address a diversity of questions regarding adaptive evolution. Some of my current research interests include:

  • The role of the thermal environment in shaping innate immunity.
  • The role of the Y-chromosome in constraining immune system evolution
  • The role of the mating environment in modifying male ejaculate composition
  • The role of gene flow asymmetry in constraining species range expansion
  • The antagonistic coevolution of reproductive and immune systems
  • Terminal investment and the production of dishonest male signals.

Selected Publications

  • Radhakrishnan, P. and Fedorka, K. M. 2011. Influence of female age, sperm senescence and multiple mating on sperm viability in female Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Insect Physiology, 57: 778-783.
  • Fedorka, K. M., Winterhalter, W. E. and Ware, B. M. 2011. Sperm competition intensity influences seminal protein production prior to mating and courtship. Evolution, 65: 584-590.
  • Winterhalter, W.E. and Fedorka, K. M. 2009. Sex differences in immune gene expression prior to and after mating in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276: 1109-1117.
  • Fedorka, K. M., Winterhalter, W. E. and Mousseau, T. A. 2007. The evolutionary genetics of sexual size dimorphism in the cricket Allonemobius socius. Heredity, 99, 218-223.
  • Fedorka, K. M, Linder, J., Winterhalter4, W.E., and Promislow, D. E. L. 2007. Post-mating disparity between potential and realized immune response in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274, 1211-1217
  • Fedorka, K. M., and Mousseau, T. A. 2007. Immune system activation affects the male sexual signal and reproductive potential in crickets. Behavioral Ecology, 18: 231-235.
  • Promislow, D. E. L., Fedorka, K. M. and Burger, J. E. P. 2005. Evolutionary biology of aging: future directions. In The Handbook of the Biology of Aging. Eds. Austad, S. and Masoro, E. 6th edition.
  • Fedorka, K. M., Zuk, M. and T. A. Mousseau. 2005. Natural selection drives the link between male immunity and reproductive potential. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 83: 1012-1014.
  • Fedorka, K. M., and M. Zuk. 2005. Sexual conflict and female immune suppression in the ground cricket, Allonemobius soicus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 18: 1515-1522.
  • Fedorka, K. M., M. Zuk and Mousseau, T.A. 2004. Immune suppression and the cost of reproduction in the cricket, Allonemobius socius. Evolution, 58: 2478-2485.
  • Fedorka, K. M. and T. A. Mousseau. 2004. Female mating bias results in conflicting sex-specific offspring fitness. Nature, 429: 65-67.
  • Fedorka, K. M. and T. A. Mousseau. 2002. Tibial spur feeding in ground crickets: larger males contribute larger gifts. Florida Entomologist, 85: 317-323.
  • Fedorka, K. M. and T. A. Mousseau. 2002. Material and genetic benefits of female multiple mating and polyandry. Animal Behaviour, 64: 361-367.
  • Fedorka, K. M. and T. A. Mousseau. 2002. Nuptial gifts and the evolution of male size. Evolution, 56: 590-596.

Highlights

April 2010

NSF RET award (PI: $15,000) to collaborate with a local high school teacher to provide experience in contemporary research

August 2007

NSF award (PI: $305,000) to examine antagonistic coevolution between male ejaculates and female immune function

August 2007

DOE award (Co-PI: 865,000) to examine the biological response of an ectotherm to climate change

January 2006

NSF award ($50,000)

 

 Education

  • Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, 2002 – University of South Carolina
  • B.S. Ecology and Evolutoinary Biology, 1994 – University of Pittsburgh