- Levi T. Morran
Indiana University Jordan Hall room 117 1001 E. 3rd St. Bloomington, IN, USA
I am currently an NIH NRSA postdoc in the Lively lab at Indiana University.
I will be moving to Atlanta and opening the Morran Lab in January 2014 at in the Biology Department at Emory University.
Please email me if you would like a full version of my CV.
- 2009, PhD, University of Oregon
- 2004, BS, Indiana University
I am broadly interested in factors that either facilitate or constrain adaptive evolution. Currently I am exploring the roles that mating systems and coevolutionary dynamics play in adaptive evolution.
I utilize experimental evolution to directly test hypotheses and determine the manner in which evolution proceeds by characterizing both the phenotypic and genotypic changes that occur in evolving populations.
- MATING SYSTEM EVOLUTION
Mating systems dictate the manner in which genes are transmitted from parent to offspring, and therefore determine the level of genetic variation within and between lineages of a population. Mating systems are a key component of reproduction, and reproduction is a basic requirement in biology. Despite this ubiquitous importance, many different mating systems exist in nature. I am interested in the selective pressures that favor specific mating systems, the genetic consequences of different mating systems, and their overall role in shaping the evolutionary trajectory of a population and/or lineage over time.
I primarily work with the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to study mating systems because this species utilizes two different mating strategies, outcrossing and self-fertilization.
- COEVOLUTIONARY DYNAMICS
Coevolution accounts for a significant proportion of the evolutionary change that occurs in nature. This is quite reasonable because most, if not all, species live as members of communities composed of many species. As a result of interactions between members in a community, many species utilize not only their own genome, but also the genome of other species to facilitate survival and reproduction in context of mutualistic interactions. Conversely, antagonistic interactions between species are capable of driving rapid evolutionary change between interacting species. Thus intergenomic interactions, resulting from both mutualistic and antagonistic coevolution, play a major role in shaping the evolutionary trajectory of many species. I am interested in learning how coevolutionary interactions affect each interacting species, and also understanding the role that mating systems play in determining the outcome of coevolutionary interactions.
I am working with C. elegans and the bacterial pathogen, Serratia marcescens, to study antagonistic coevolution. I am also working with the nematode Steinernema carpocapsae and its bacterial symbiont, Xenorhabdus nematophila, to study mutualistic coevolution.
- Farrah Bashey-Visser, Indiana University
- Lynda Delph, Indiana University
- Heidi Goodrich-Blair, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Matt Hahn, Indiana University
- Kayla King, University of Oxford
- Curt Lively, Indiana University
- Patrick Phillips, University of Oregon
- Morran, L.T., R. C. Parrish II, I. A. Gelarden, and C. M. Lively. Temporal dynamics of outcrossing and host mortality rates in host-pathogen experimental coevolution. Evolution. In press
- Anderson J.L., R.M. Reynolds, L.T. Morran, J. Tolman-Thompson, P.C. Phillips. 2011. Experimental evolution reveals antagonistic pleiotropy in reproductive timing but not lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 66A (12):1300-1308.
- Morran, L.T., O.G. Schmidt, I.A. Gelarden, R.C. Parrish II, C.M. Lively. 2011. Running with the Red Queen: Host-parasite coevolution selects for bi-parental sex. Science. Jul 8; 333 (6039): 216-8.
- Morran, L.T., A. Ohdera, and P.C. Phillips. 2010. Purging deleterious mutations under self-fertilization: Paradoxical recovery in fitness with increasing mutation rate in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS ONE. 5(12): e14473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014473
- Anderson J.L., Morran L.T., Phillips P.C. 2010. Outcrossing and the maintenance of males within C. elegans populations. J Hered. Mar-Apr; 101 Suppl 1: S62-74.
- Morran L.T., Parmenter M.D., Phillips P.C. 2009. Mutation load and rapid adaptation favour outcrossing over self-fertilization. Nature. Nov 19; 462 (7271): 350-2.
- Morran L.T., Cappy B.J., Anderson J.L., Phillips P.C. 2009. Sexual partners for the stressed: facultative outcrossing in the self-fertilizing nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Evolution. Jun; 63 (6): 1473-82.
- Bashey, F., L.T. Morran, and C.M. Lively. 2007. Coinfection, kin selection, and the rate of host exploitation by a parasitic nematode. Evolutionary Ecology Research 9: 947-958.
Research in News and Media Coverage
Running with the Red Queen:
Purging deleterious mutations under self-fertilization:
Mutation load and rapid adaptation favour outcrossing over self-fertilization:
The following two links include sexual content that may not be suitable for all individuals:
Science and Faith
I am an evolutionary biologist and a follower of Jesus. I chose evolutionary biology (and specifically experimental evolution) as a field of study to get a firsthand look at the process of evolution as part of a personal search for truth. After almost 10 years of research, I am continually fascinated by, and an ardent proponent of, evolution and its comprehensive ability to explain the diversity of life on Earth. My quest for truth through the study of evolution has only served to strengthen my faith and allowed me to experience intellectual and spiritual freedom by embracing both faith and science as integral components in my life.
Given my faith and my love of science, it should be no surprise that I have a keen interest in the creation/evolution debate currently ongoing in the United States. I believe that Intelligent Design and certain forms of Creationism threaten to undermine the scientific integrity of science classrooms across the country, while also marginalizing and sabotaging religious faith. I am particularly interested in making science and the scientific method accessible, comprehensible, and nonthreatening to faith-based groups in an effort to preserve scientific integrity and reconcile the fact of evolution with the choice to have faith in the supernatural.
I am profoundly interested in the relationship between science and faith. It is one of my favorite discussion points, so please feel free to email me with your thoughts or comments. I truly enjoy civil discussion and hearing different points of view.
Ken Miller and Francis Collins are excellent scientists and scholars that present compelling cases regarding the compatibility of science and faith. I highly recommend their work to anyone exploring this topic.
Organizations I Support
- Team Zachary raises funds for Lymphoma research through the University of Nebraska Medical Center in memory of my best friend Zach May.
- National Center for Science Education is an organization that advocates for the inclusion of evolution and exclusion of nonscientific "origins" theories in public school science curricula.
- Heifer International is an organization that helps people around the world break cycles of poverty through means that bolster their communities and families.
- Indianapolis Colts I love football!
- Oakland Athletics I like baseball.
- Columbia City High School Football My good friend is the varsity head coach and has built a great program.
- Eugene Marathon I'm not a runner, but I enjoy running (I run the half, not the full).
- WTTS Fm 92.3 From Dylan to Marley to Dave, they play great music.
- Carbon Leaf Great band everyone should check out!
- Mat Kearney Excellent musician and great performer!
- Coldplay I've been really into them lately.
- I've been known to listen to some George Strait every now and then too.
- Star Wars Uncut I'm a fan of the original 3.
I like cheeseburgers, burritos, and subs more than anyone really should. Here are a few of my favorites: