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Scott Pitnick

Scott Pitnick

Weeden Professor
Department of Biology

252 Life Sciences Complex

Research Interests

Sexual selection, speciation, evolution of reproductive and life history traits.


  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellow (1994)
  • Ph.D., Arizona State University (1992)
  • B.S., Cornell University (1986)


  • BIO 417: Laboratory in Animal Behavior and Evolution
  • BIO 400/600: Sexual Selection
  • BIO 454: Evolution
  • BIO 797: Topics in Evolution

Current Funding

  • National Science Foundation: DEB-1257859, Genetic analysis of sperm length evolution in Drosophila (PI: M. Manier; Co-PIs: J. Belote, S. Dorus, S. Pitnick). 2013-2016.
  • National Science Foundation: DEB-1310878, DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Connecting mechanisms of variance in reproductive success to consequences of trait divergence among Tribolium species (PI: E. Droge-Young; Co-PI: S. Pitnick). 2013-2015.
  • National Science Foundation: DEB-1145965, Evolutionary genetics of male quality and competitive reproductive success (PI: S. Pitnick; Co-PIs: J. Belote, S. Lüpold and M. Manier). 2012-2015.
  • Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship: Sperm competition in sepsid flies: Reconstructing patterns of male-female reproductive trait coevolution in Sepsidae and resolving mechanisms of competitive fertilization success using transgenic populations of Sepsis punctum (Diptera) (PI: N. Puniamoorthy). 2013-2015.
  • American Association of University Women–American Fellowship (PI: E. Droge-Young). 2014-2015.
  • Rosemary Grant Research Award, Society for the Study of Evolution (PI: B. Gress). 2013-2014.

Selected Publications

  • Lüpold, S., M. K. Manier, N. Puniamoorthy, C. Schoff, W. T. Starmer, S. H. Buckley Luepold, J. M. Belote and S. Pitnick. 2016. How sexual selection can drive the evolution of costly sperm ornamentation. Nature, in press. DOI: 10.1038/nature18005
  • Gress, B., R. J. Waltzer, S. Lüpold, E. Droge-Young, M. K. Manier, and S. Pitnick. 2014. Alternative mating tactics in the yellow dung fly: resolving mechanisms of small-male advantage off pasture. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 20132164.
  • Manier, M. K., J. M. Belote, W. T. Starmer, K. S. Berben, S. Lüpold, O. Ala-Honkola, W. F. Collins and S. Pitnick. 2013. Postcopulatory sexual selection generates speciation phenotypes in Drosophila. Current Biology 23: 1853-1862.
  • Lüpold, S., S. Pitnick, K. S. Berben, C. Blengini, J. M. Belote and M. K. Manier. 2013. Female mediation of competitive fertilization success in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110: 10693-10698.
  • Lüpold, S., M. K. Manier, K. S. Berben, K. J. Smith, B. D. Daley, S. H. Buckley, J. M. Belote and S. Pitnick. 2012. Sperm form, function and fitness: how multiple ejaculate traits determine competitive fertilization success. Current Biology 22: 1667-1672.
  • Higginson, D. M., K. B. Miller, K. A. Segraves and S. Pitnick. 2012. Female reproductive tract form drives the evolution of complex sperm morphology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 109: 4538-4543.
  • Immler, S., S. Pitnick, G. A. Parker, S. Lüpold, K. Durrant, S. Calhim and T.R. Birkhead. 2011. Resolving variation in reproductive trade-offs: sperm production in birds and flies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 108 : 5325-30.
  • Manier, M. K., J. M. Belote, K. S. Berben, D. Novikov, W. T. Stuart and S. Pitnick. 2010. Resolving mechanisms of competitive fertilization success in Drosophila melanogaster. Science 328: 354-357.
  • Birkhead, T.R., D.J. Hosken and S. Pitnick (eds.) 2009. Sperm Biology: An Evolutionary Perspective. Academic Press, London.
  • Bjork, A. and S. Pitnick. 2006. Intensity of sexual selection along the anisogamy-isogamy continuum. Nature 441: 742-745.
  • Miller, G. T. and S. Pitnick. 2002.  Sperm-female coevolution in Drosophila. Science 298: 1230-1233.
  • Karr, T. L. and S. Pitnick. 1996. The ins and outs of fertilization. Nature 379: 405-406.