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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Faculty & Research

Faculty Profile

Armin Moczek

Photo of Armin Moczek
Contact Information
By telephone: 812-856-1468/6-1783(lab)
MY 102D / MY 102 (lab)

Moczek Lab website
Mechanisms of Behavior

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
Research Area
Genomics and Bioinformatics

1996 M.S., Julius Maximilians University, Wuerzburg, Germany
2002 Ph.D., Duke University
2002-04 NIH Postdoctoral Excellence in Research & Teaching Fellow, University of Arizona


2004 Young Investigator Prize, American Society of Naturalists
2007 & 2008 Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching Award
2010/11 Long-Term Sabbatical Fellow National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
2014 Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence in Biology and Dedication to Undergraduates


Research Description

Our lab addresses a fundamental question in biology: how do novel phenotypic traits originate and diversify in nature? We use a wide range of approaches to address this question from different perspectives, and on different levels of biological organization. We use behavioral and ecological approaches in the lab and field on experimental and natural populations to understand when and how ecological processes can drive phenotypic evolution. We employ standard developmental techniques and growth manipulations to address physiological mechanisms of phenotype formation and evolution. Lastly, we rely on an increasing range of developmental-genetic and molecular tools (gene expression, gene function analysis, genomic and proteomic approaches) to investigate the genetic and genomic regulation of phenotype expression and diversification.

While each of these approaches has provided valuable insights, it has been most of all the integration across these levels of analyses that has proven most informing and fascinating.

Our study organisms have been primarily beetles in the genus Onthophagus. We have also begun to address related questions in other organisms, in particular the beetle family Lampyridae (fireflies, lightening bugs) and Drosophila, and are open to add additional organisms to our repertoire.

The Moczek laboratory offers a wide range of opportunities for postgraduate, graduate and undergraduate research in Evolution, Development and Ecology. At the same time this lab is part of one of the strongest and most diverse Biology Departments with a stellar record in integrative, crossdisciplinary work. If you are interested in joining this lab please contact Armin Moczek (armin(at)

Select Publications
Moczek AP, Kijimoto T (2014). Development and evolution of insect polyphenisms: novel insights through the study of sex determination mechanisms. Current Topics in Insect Science, in press.
Moczek AP, KijimotoT, Snell-Rood EC, Rocha G, Pespeni M, Kafadar K (2014). Evolutionary and ecological genomics of plasticity: novel approaches and first insights from the study of horned beetles. In: Ecological Genomics; edited by C. Landry and N. Aubin-Horth. Springer Verlag, Berlin. pp. 127-148.
Stansbury M, Moczek AP (2014). The function of Hox and appendage patterning genes in a novel organ, the Photuris firefly lantern. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B (in press)
Estes AM, Hearn DJ, Snell-Rood EC, Feindler M, Feeser K, Abebe T, Dunning JC Hotopp, Moczek AP (2013). Brood ball-mediated transmission of microbiome members in the dung beetle, Onthophagus taurus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). PLoS ONE 8(11): e79061.
Stansbury M, Moczek AP (2013). The evolvability of arthropods. In: Arthropod Biology and Evolution: Molecules, Development, Morphology; edited by A. Minelli, G Boxshall and G Fusco. Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 479-493.
Snell-Rood EC, Troth A, Moczek AP 2012. DNA Methylation as a mechanism of nutritional plasticity: insights from horned beetles. J Exp Zoology B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution. 9999B:113.

Snell-Rood EC, Moczek AP 2012. Insulin signaling as a mechanism underlying developmental plasticity: the role of FOXO in a nutritional polyphenism. PLoS ONE. 7(4): e34857.

Kijimoto T, Moczek AP, Andrews J (2012). Diversification of doublesex function regulates morph-, sex-, and species-specific expression of beetle horns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 10.1073/pnas.1118589109
Moczek AP 2012. The nature of nurture and the future of evodevo: toward a comprehensive theory of developmental evolution. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 52: 108-119.
Moczek AP 2011. The origins of novelty. Nature 473: 34-35.
Moczek AP, Sultan S, Foster S, Ledon-Rettig C, Dworkin I, Nijhout HF, Abouheif E, Pfennig D (2011). The role of developmental plasticity in evolutionary innovation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 278: 2705-2713.

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