Dr. Tony Zera
Dr. Zera's Curriculum Vitae
Synopsis of research interests
Overview. My research focuses on the physiological, biochemical and molecular bases of adaptation. In a nutshell, I am attempting to identify how physiological mechanisms which regulate growth, development and reproduction are altered during the course of adaptive evolution. Since graduate school I have been working on two interrelated problems: (1) the evolution of the endocrine regulation of development and reproduction in insects, and (2) the physiological basis of life history evolution, especially life history trade-offs. This research has resulted in the first detailed synthesis of evolutionary genetics and endocrinology and has been supported continuously by NSF during the past 15 years. This research is highly interdisciplinary, combining aspects of quantitative genetics, endocrine physiology, enzymology, bioenergetics, metabolic biochemistry, and most recently, molecular biology. Most of the work is done on wing-polymorphic crickets of the genus Gryllus and closely related species.
Evolutionary Endocrinology - Hormones, Life-histories and Dispersal
Evolutionary Endocrinology of Juvenile Hormone Esterase
Biochemistry / Physiology of Life History Trade - Offs
- Mole, S. and A.J. Zera. 1993. Differential allocation of resources underlies the dispersal-reproduction trade-off in the wing-dimorphic cricket, Gryllus rubens. Oecologia. 93:121-127.
- Zera, A.J. and C. Zhang. 1995. Evolutionary endocrinology of juvenile hormone esterase in Gryllus assimilis: Direct and correlated responses to selection. Genetics: 141:1125-1134.
- Zera, A. J. and R. F. Denno. 1997 Physiology and ecology of dispersal polymorphism in insects. Annual Review of Entomology 42:207-230
- Zera, A. J., J. Sall, and K. Grudzinski. 1997. Flight-muscle polymorphism in the wing-polymorphic cricket, Gryllus firmus: Muscle characteristics and their influence on the evolution of flightlessness. Physiol. Zool. 70:519-529.
- Zera, A. J., J. Potts, J and K. Kobus. 1998. The physiology of life history trade-offs: Experimental analysis of a hormonally-induced life-history trade-off in Gryllus assimilis American Naturalist 152:7-23.
- Zera, A. J., T. Sanger, and G.L. Cisper. 1998. Direct and correlated responses to selection on JHE activity in adult and juvenile G. assimilis: Implications for the stage-specific evolution of insect endocrine traits. Heredity 80:300-309.
- Zera, A.J. and Y. Huang. 1999. Evolutionary endocrinology of juvenile hormone esterase: Functional relationship with wing dimorphism in the cricket Gryllus firmus. Evolution 53:837-847.
- Zera, A. J. and G. L. Cisper. 2001 Genetic and diurnal variation in the juvenile hormone titer in a wing-polymorphic cricket: Implications for the evolution of life histories and dispersal. Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 74:293-306.
- Zera, A. J. and L. G. Harshman. 2001. Physiology of life history trade-offs in animals Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 32:95-106.
- Zhao, Z., A. J. Zera. 2001. Enzymological and radiotracer studies of lipid metabolism in the flight-capable and flightless morphs of the wing polymorphic cricket, Gryllus firmus. Journal of Insect Physiology 47:1337-1347.
- Zhao, Z., A. J. Zera. 2002. Differential lipid biosynthesis underlies a trade-off between reproduction and flight-capability in a wing-polymorphic cricket. PNAS 99:16829-16834.
- Zera, A. J., Z. Zhao. 2003. Life history evolution and the microevolution of intermediary metabolism: Activities of lipid-metabolizing enzymes in life-history morphs of a wing-dimorphic cricket Evolution, 57:586-596.
- Zera, A.J. and Z. Zhao. 2003. Morph-dependent fatty-acid oxidation in a wing-polymorphic cricket: Implications for morph specialization for dispersal vs. reproduction J. Insect Physiology 49:933-943
- Zera, A.J. and Z. Zhao. 2003-04. Effect of a juvenile hormone analogue on lipid metabolism in a wing-polymorphic cricket: Implications for the biochemical basis of the trade-off between reproduction and dispersal. (Biochemical and Physiological Zoology: conditionally accepted).
- Zera, A.J. and Z. Zhao. 2003-04. The hemolymph JH titer exhibits a large-amplitude, morph-dependent, diurnal cycle in the wing-polymorhic cricket, Gryllus firmus. Journal of Insect Physiology (In Press)
Current Grant Support
NSF-ECOLOGICAL AND EVOLUTIONARY PHYSIOLOGY. The Metabolic/Biochemical Basis of Life History Variation and Trade-offs (10/98- 9/03)
Recent Grant Support
Supplementary awards: Three REU
NSF-ECOLOGICAL AND EVOLUTIONARY PHYSIOLOGY. Morph-dependent cyclic JH titer in a wing-polymorphic cricket: Adaptive significance and underlying causes (6/1/02-4/31/05).
NSF-ECOLOGICAL AND EVOLUTIONARY PHYSIOLOGY. Physiological and molecular causes of genetic variation/covariation in endocrine regulation. (1/1/03-12/31/05; I am PI, coPIs: Dr. John Oakeshott, CSIRO, Australia; Dr. Larry Harshman, Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska