Professor of Biology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
The Hoekstra Lab is broadly interested in understanding how variation is generated and maintained in natural populations. Specifically, our group has used natural populations of rodents to understand the ultimate (timing, strength and agent of selection) and proximate (molecular, genetic and developmental) causes of evolutionary change. While initially we focused on the genetic basis of color pattern adaptation in beach mice, we now have expanded this work to other species (i.e., deer mice and lizards) and other fitness-related traits (e.g., venom, tail length, and reproductive traits, including sperm morphology, sperm performance and sperm-egg interactions). We also have extended our research efforts to study the evolution and genetics of behavior (e.g., burrowing, mate-choice, and predator avoidance). To this end, we use a variety of approaches -- from ecological experiments in the field to molecular and developmental genetics in the laboratory. And, because we study non-model species, we are developing several genetic and genomic tools for a variety of taxa, which include but are not limited to: SNP identification and genotyping, RNA-Seq, RAD-tags, targeted resequencing, whole genome sequencing and assembly for population genomics. Together, our goal is to generate a more complete picture of the adaptive process.