Ken Spitze

Ken Spitze

Associate Scientist, Biology

  • Woodburn Hall 331
  • Office Hours
    By Appointment Only


  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1989


I am involved in a large population genomics project on Daphnia. In addition to gaining more basic understanding of the characteristics of the genome of these organisms, we will explore the patterns of the intra- and inter-population variation. With the genomics tools that will emerge from this work, we intend to search for the genetic basis of quantitative characters, such as those associated with life histories, inducible defenses, reproductive compatibility, and obligate asexuality.

My prior research has focused on phenotypic selection and evolution, particularly with regard to life history evolution in predatory-prey interactions. My primary model system has been the predaceous aquatic larvae of the dipteran Chaoborus americanus and the temporary-pond dwelling microcrustaceans Daphnia pulex and D. obtusa. I have worked on several questions involving patterns of quantitative genetic variation in Daphnia, and have developed a metric (Qst) that has become widely used in testing for the action of natural selection in leading to population differentiation. I have also worked extensively on predator-mediated inducible defenses in Daphnia.