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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Faculty & Research

Faculty Profile

Curt Lively

Photo of Curt Lively
Research Images
Research photo by Curt Lively

Lake Gunn, New Zealand. (photo credit: C. Lively)

Distinguished Professor of Biology

IU Affiliations
Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior

Contact Information
By telephone: 812-855-1842/5-3282(lab)
JH 117B / JH 116/117 (lab)

Lively Lab website

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
Research Areas
  • Behavior
  • Ecology
  • Evolution

Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1984
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 1984-88,
Postdoctoral Associate, Center for Theoretical and Applied Genetics, Rutgers University, 1989


1987    Mercer Award, from the Ecological Society of America

1993    Outstanding Young Faculty Award from Indiana University

1996     Election to FACET (faculty colloquium on excellence in teaching)

1997    Teaching Excellence Recognition Award

1999    Teaching Excellence Recognition Award

2000    Teaching Excellence Recognition Award

2000    Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence and Dedication to Undergraduates

2002    Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence and Dedication to Undergraduates

2002    Indiana University Trustees' Award for Outstanding Teaching

2007     Elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (HON FRSNZ)

2011    Indiana University Trustees' Award for Outstanding Teaching

Research Description

Why do so many organisms have two sexual morphs: male and female?  And why do the females cross-fertilize instead of producing clonal offspring?  Assuming no concomitant reduction in fecundity, an asexual female would produce twice as many daughters (and four times as many grand-daughters) as the average sexual female; and unchecked, the resulting clone would quickly replace the sexual females and males in the population.  Our approach has been to study species that have both sexual and asexual females, so that there is a firm basis for comparison between the two reproductive strategies.  Sexual reproduction in one such species, a freshwater New Zealand snail, is correlated with the incidence of infection by parasitic trematodes, which is consistent with the idea that the production of variable, cross-fertilized progeny is favored in populations where there is a high risk of infection (The Red Queen hypothesis).  We are presently involved in more detailed genetic and ecological studies of this snail in populations where sexual and asexual females coexist.  I am also interested in the evolution of parasite virulence, and the evolution of phenotypic plasticity.  Specific details can be found at my lab website.

Select Publications

Vergara, D., Lively, C. M., King, K. C., and Jokela, J.  2013.  The geographic mosaic of sex and infection in lake populations of a New Zealand snail at multiple spatial scales. The American Naturalist 182: 484-493.

Morran, L. T., Gelarden, I. A., Parrish R. C. II, and Lively, C. M. 2013.  Temporal dynamics of outcrossing and host mortality rates in host-pathogen experimental coevolution.  Evolution 67: 1860-1868.  

Bashey, F., Hawlena, H., and Lively, C. M.  2013. Alternative paths to success in a parasite community: within-host competition can favor higher virulence or direct interference.  Evolution 67: 900-907.

King, K. C. and Lively, C. M.  2012.  Does genetic diversity limit disease spread in natural host populations?  Heredity 109: 199-203. 

Lively, C. M. 2012. Feedbacks between ecology and evolution: interactions between ΔN and Δp in a life-history model.  Evolutionary Ecology Research 14: 299-309.

Lively, C. M.  The cost of males in non-equilibrium populations.  2011.  Evolutionary Ecology Research 13: 105-111.

King, K. C., Jokela, J., and Lively, C. M.  2011.  Parasites, sex, and clonal diversity in natural snail populations.  Evolution 65: 1474-1481.  

Morran, L. T., Schmidt, O. G., Gelarden, I. A., Parrish R. C. II, and Lively, C. M.  2011. Running with the Red Queen: host-parasite coevolution selects for biparental sex.  Science 333: 216-218.    

Hawlena, H., Bashey, F., and Lively, C. M.  2010The evolution of spite: population structure and bacteriocin-mediated antagonism in two natural populations of Xenorhabdus bacteria.  Evolution 64: 3198-3204.  

Lively, C. M.  2010The effect of host genetic diversity on disease spread.  American Naturalist 175: E149-E152.   

Lively, C. M.  2010.  Parasite virulence, host life history, and the costs and benefits of sex.  Ecology 91: 3-6.

Hawlena, H., Bashey, F., Mendes-Soares, H, and Lively, C.M.  2010Spiteful interactions in a natural population of the bacterium Xenorhabdus bovienii.  American Naturalist 175: 374-381.  

Lively, C. M.  2010An epidemiological model of host-parasite coevolution and sex.  Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 1490-1497.  

King, K. C., L. F. Delph, J. Jokela, and C. M. Lively.  2009.  The geographic mosaic of sex and the Red Queen.  Current Biology 19: 1438–1441
Koskella, B. and C. M. Lively.  2009.  Evidence for negative frequency-dependent selection during experimental coevolution of a freshwater snail and a sterilizing trematode.  Evolution 63: 2213-2221.
Vigneux, F., F. Bashey, M. Sicard, and C.M. Lively. 2008. Low migration decreases interference competition among parasites and increases virulence. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 1245-1251.
Koskella, B. and C.M. Lively. 2007. Advice of the Rose: experimental coevolution of a trematode parasite and its snail host. Evolution 62: 152-159.
Peters, A.D. and C.M. Lively. 2007. Short- and long-term benefits and detriments to recombination under antagonistic coevolution. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 1206-1217.
Lively, C.M. 2006. The ecology of virulence. Ecology Letters 9: 1089-1095.
Lively, C.M. 2005. Evolution of virulence: coinfection and propagule production in spore–producing parasites. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2005, 5:64.
Neiman, M., J. Jokela, and C.M. Lively. 2005. Variation in asexual lineage age in Potamopyrgus antipodarum, a New Zealand snail. Evolution 59: 1945-1952.
Hazel, W, R. Smock, and C. M. Lively. 2004. The ecological genetics of conditional strategies. American Naturalist 163:888-900.
Lively, C.M., M.F. Dybdahl, J. Jokela, E. Osnas, and L.F. Delph. 2004. Host sex and local adaptation by parasites in a snail-trematode interaction. American Naturalist 164:S6-S18.

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