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Daniel A Levitis, PhD

    Associate Scientist, Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Contact levitis[at] Skype: daniellevitis

    Levitis CV [download]

    Blog Blog of Science!

    I study the evolution of patterns of longevity and mortality, focusing on aging, mortality early in life (including inviability) and post-reproductive lifespan. As with any evolved trait, figuring out how a demographic trait came to be requires understanding not only its current selective effects, but also its evolutionary history and how the biological mechanisms underlying it constrain how natural selection can change it.

    I take an integrative biology approach to these problems, combining comparative, experimental and theoretical approaches to better define, and answer my evolutionary questions.

    I prioritize mentoring student research, helping students to participate in the entire process from ideation to publication. My student co-authors initiate many of these projects, including recently submitted journal articles on starfish and ravens.



    Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from University of California at Berkeley, December 2009. Dissertation: "Post-fertile Survival: the Evolution of a Demographic Anomaly"

    B.A. in Biology from Bennington College, 1999


    2017. Levitis DA, Zimmerman K, Pringle A. Is meiosis a fundamental cause of inviability among sexual and asexual plants and animals? Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. In Press.

    2017. Levitis DA, Golan J, Pringle A, Taylor J. A century later, resolving Joseph Grinnell's "Striking Case of Adventitious Coloration." The Auk: Ornithological Advances. 134, 551-552.

    2016. Saberski ET*, Diamond JD*, Henneman N*, Levitis DA. Post-reproductive parthenogenetic pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) are visually identifiable and disproportionately positioned distally to clonal colonies. PeerJ. 4, e2631

    2016. Dunn PH, Zarulli V, Levitis DA. Beyond being eaten or swept away: Ontogenetic transitions drive developmental mortality in marine barnacle larvae. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 559, 103-116.

    2016. Zimmerman K, Levitis DA, Pringle A. Beyond animals and plants: Dynamic maternal effects in the fungus Neurospora crassa. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 29: 1379-1393.

    2016. Zimmerman K, Levitis DA, Addicott E*, Pringle A. Selection of Pairings Reaching Evenly Across the Data (SPREAD): A simple algorithm to design maximally informative fully crossed mating experiments. Heredity 116: 182-189.

    2015. Levitis DA. Evolutionary Demography: a synthesis of two population sciences. In: International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences 2nd Edition. ed.: J.D. Wright. 413-419.

    2015. Olsen TB*, Christensen FEG*, Lundgreen K, Dunn PH, Levitis DA. Coelomic transport and clearance of foreign bodies by sea stars (Asterias rubens). Biological Bulletin 228: 156-162.

    2015. Oravecz Z, Faust K, Batchelder WH, Levitis DA. Studying the existence and attributes of consensus on psychological concepts by a cognitive psychological model. American Journal of Psychology 128: 61-75.

    2013. Levitis DA, Burger O, Bingaman Lackey L. The human postfertile life span in comparative evolutionary context. Evolutionary Anthropology 22: 66-79.

    2013. Levitis DA, Martínez DE. The two halves of U-shaped mortality. Frontiers in Genetics of Aging 4: 31.

    2013. Levitis DA, Goldstein J*. The consistent, non-destructive measurement of small proteiform aquatic animals, with application to the size and growth of hydra. Marine and Freshwater Research 64: 332-339.

    2011. Levitis DA. Before senescence: the evolutionary demography of ontogenesis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 278: 801-809.

    2011. Levitis DA, Bingaman Lackey L. A measure for describing and comparing postreproductive life span as a population trait. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2: 446-453.

    2009. Levitis DA, Lidicker Jr WZ, Freund G*. Behavioural biologists do not agree on what constitutes behaviour. Animal Behaviour 78: 103-110.

    2003. Sherman E, Levitis DA. Heat hardening as a function of developmental stage in larval and juvenile Bufo americanus and Xenopus laevis. Journal of Thermal Biology 28: 373-38.