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Dr. Don Levitan

Florida State University
Telephone: 850-644-4424

I am interested in the ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates. My work examines the interactions between ecological processes, natural and sexual selection, and molecular evolution.   Much of my work examines how the availability of sperm influences reproductive strategies, the evolution of sperm and egg traits and the establishment of reproductive isolation among species.   I enjoy integrating field and laboratory studies into a theoretical framework. I use a diverse array of tools to answer questions including field experiments on gamete fertilization and reproductive isolation, molecular studies of paternity, hybridization and protein evolution, phylogenetic analysis of trait evolution and theoretical explorations of sexual selection and gamete evolution

I first visited the Bamfield Marine Station in 1981 during a marine ecology course I was taking at Friday Harbor.  I feel in love with the place and returned in 1989 as a postdoctoral fellow.  I have returned annually since then to study the ecology and evolution of fertilization and have taught classes at the BMSC in Marine Ecology and the Life History Strategies of Marine Organisms.  I received my PhD at the University of Delaware, where I conducted my research on sea urchin population biology and ecology in the US Virgin Islands.  My first postdoctoral work was at the University of Alberta where I resided in Bamfield and initiated my work on fertilization ecology.  I then moved to UC Davis where I gained skills in applying molecular tools to estimate population structure and parentage.  In 1994 I started my faculty position at Florida State University and have been conducting field work in British Columbia, a variety of sites throughout the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and recently the Mediterranean.