Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics

Research Overview:
Identifying the genes that underlie complex ecologically relevant trait variation is one of the most important questions in biology. Although evolutionary biologists have long been interested determining the genes that underlie patterns of adaptive phenotypic divergence in nature, relatively few examples exist where the causal allelic variants contributing to adaptive differentiation have been identified. To address these long-standing questions my lab uses tools from a diverse array of fields. These include theory and methodology from not only evolution and ecology, but also quantitative genetics, functional genomics, and statistics. 
My lab primarily uses Drosophila as a model system to understand the genetics and evolution of ecologically important traits in nature. Drosophila species (and populations) are ideal  in many respects as they display a rich assortment of natural genetic variation in many ecologically and evolutionarily relevant phenotypes, many of which appear to exhibit strong patterns of local adaptation among populations and species. 

The Genomics of Thermotolerance in Drosophila
One class of phenotype that we have been especially interested in are the thermal-stress resistance phenotypes as they show  vidence of pronounced local adaptation within species and climatic adaptation among species. However, very little is currently known about the genetic architecture underlying these phenotypes. During the last several years my lab has been using an integrative quantitative genetic approach to identify and investigate the individual loci underlying the thermal-stress resistance phenotypes in Drosophila melanogaster. We have utilized D. melanogaster as a model, because of the rich genetic tool box that can be exploited for the genetic dissection of virtually any phenotype. To this end we have been using mutant screens and genome expression profiling to identify candidate genes and pathways affecting resistance to thermal extremes. We have also conducted QTL analyses and replicated artificial selection to identify the loci that are contributing to natural variation in thermotolerance. Current projects in the lab are underway to: further refine this genetic architecture to the level of the individual candidate gene; characterize the genetic mechanisms mediating the allelic effects observed; and determine how these allelic effects translate across environments or ontogeny.
Current Projects:







Ecological Genomics



EEB at K-State



Fun outside the Lab



Life in Manhattan


Morgan Lab

Mailing address:

Division of Biology

116 Ackert Hall

Manhattan, KS 66506

Phone Numbers:

Ted’s office: 785-532-6126

Molecular lab: 785-532-6074

Fly lab: 785-532-6416

Fax: 785-532-6653

email: tjmorgan@ksu.edu

Ted’s skype: morganlab.ksu


Physical Location:

Fly Lab: Chalmers 257

Molecular Lab: Chalmers 261

Incubator Lab: Chalmers 263

Ted’s Office: Chalmers 239D

This is where you can find us on the campus map.