Biosciences Graduate Program

Andrew A. Forbes, BA, , PhD


Assistant Professor of Biology

Contact Information

Office: 434A BB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-006

Web: More About Dr. Forbes - Related Websites and Resources


BA, Biology, Colgate University
PhD, Ecology & Evolution, University of Notre Dame

Research Summary

I am interested in the origins and maintenance of insect diversity with a focus on plant-feeding and parasitic insects. These organisms constitute the vast majority of animal species on Earth, but most tend to be small, relatively anonymous, and specialists on just one host species, and are therefore grossly understudied. I integrate traditional ecological experimentation with molecular genetic techniques and evolutionary theory to investigate the evolution of these charismatic but under-appreciated taxa. In my lab, we are exploring the dimensions of biodiversity among a complex of Tephritid fruit flies (genus: Rhagoletis) and their associated parasitoid wasps (genera: Diachasma, Diachasmimorpha, Utetes and Coptera). Recent host shifts and incipient speciation events of the fly appear to be driving similar events in their parasitoids, leading to a veritable ‘starburst’ of recent speciation in this system. We are looking at how the ecologies, life histories, morphologies and genetic / genomic backgrounds of these insects both facilitate and stymie the genesis of new diversity.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48