Faculty and Research


Scott Pitnick

Weeden Professor of Biology

Office: LSC 252
Phone: 315-443-5128; Lab: 315-443-7248
Lab website:


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

Research Interests

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


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

Current Laboratory 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

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.