Professor of Biology
Office: 3344 Spieth Hall
Phone (951) 827-3952


Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1986

Lab Web Page

I am interested in behavioral ecology, the study of the evolution of behavior. My research centers on sexual selection and the effects of parasites on mate choice and the evolution of secondary sex characters. I am also interested in the influence of parasites on host ecology and behavior. Currently, we are studying the conflict between sexual and natural selection in Pacific field crickets, Teleogryllus oceanicus, subject to an acoustically-orienting parasitic fly. A recent mutation in some of the populations of the crickets renders them silent, protecting them from the fly but posing a problem in mate attraction. This work has also led to an interest in rapid evolution and the role of behavior in the establishment of novel traits. Finally, I am interested in how animal behavior is used by the general public to understand human behavior, particularly with regard to sex and gender.

Dr.  Zuk participates in the Evolutionary Biology Track of the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Program. She is also active in the Animal Behavior Society and the and the International Society for Behavioral Ecology.

Some Representative Publications....

• Zuk, M. (2009) The evolutionary search for our perfect past. New York Times, January 19.
• Bailey, N.W. and Zuk, M. (2008) Acoustic experience shapes female mate choice in field crickets. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B 275: 2645-2650.
• Bailey, N.W., McNabb, J.R. and Zuk, M. (2008) Pre-existing behavior facilitated the loss of a sexual signal in the field cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. Behavioral Ecology 19: 202-207.
• Zuk, M. and Bailey, N.W. (2008) Birds gone wild: same-sex parenting in albatross. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 23:658-660.
• Zuk, M., Rotenberry, J.T., and Tinghitella, R.M. (2006) Silent night: Adaptive disappearance of a sexual signal in a parasitized population of field crickets. Biology Letters 2: 521-524.
• Zuk, M. (2006) Family values in black and white. Nature 439:917.
• Zuk, M. (2004) Birds do it, bonobos do it (opinion). Los Angeles Times, March 7, M3.

Click here for a complete publication list.

Recent Teaching....