Alexander Badyaev

Alex Badyaev

Office Location:  BSW 416
Lab Location: BSW 425


Positions and Education: 

  • Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2009- present
  • Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2006- 2009
  • Assistant Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2002-2006
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, College of Science & Mathematics, Auburn University, 2000-2002
  • Ph.D., Organismal Biology and Ecology, University of Montana, 1999
  • M.S., Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, 1994
  • M.S., Comp. Anatomy & Pop. Ecology, Moscow State University, Russia, 1992
  • B.S., Biology; Mathematical Biology, Moscow State University, Russia, 1989

Honors and Awards: 

  • Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, elected 2012
  • Kavli Fellow, US National Academy of Sciences, elected 2013
  • Distinguished Career Teaching Award, College of Science, University of Arizona, 2017
  • The Mangelsdorf Distinguished Speaker, University of North Carolina, 2013
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Miami, 2012/2013
  • Elected Council of the Society for the Study of Evolution, Class of 2011
  • The Albert L. Tester Honorary Lecture, University of Hawaii, 2010
  • The Storer Foundation Lecture, University of California-Davis, 2010
  • The Jack & Pat Bryan Distinguished Lecture, Syracuse University, 2010
  • The John Tyler Bonner Lecture, Princeton University, 2009
  • Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award, College of Science, University of Arizona, 2007
  • “Most Inspirational Faculty” distinction, COS seniors, U Arizona, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellow in Science & Engineering, 2005-2010
  • Director, Cooper Ornithological Society, 2006-2009
  • NSF CAREER, 2005-2010
  • Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, elected 2009
  • Distinguished Visiting Researcher, Uppsala University, 2004-2008
  • John Maynard Smith Prize, European Society for Evolutionary Biology, 2001
  • Dobzhansky Prize, Society for the Study of Evolution, 2001

Editorial Work: 

  • Editor, Philosophy & Theory in Biology, 2010-2012
  • Associate Editor, Evolution, 2006-2009
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2004-2007
  • Associate Editor, Evolutionary Ecology, 2003-2010
  • Associate Editor, Functional Ecology, 2004-2008
  • Guest Editor, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA
  • Board of Editors, Year in Evolutionary Biology, 2007-pres.
  • Advisory Board, Philosophy & Theory in Biology, 2008-2010, 2012-pres.

Research Interests: 

Life’s most defining feature – its continuity – presumes physical connectivity between current and past forms. To what extent this uninterrupted flow is produced by optimization by natural selection, by chance encounter of available pathways, or by preservation of past constraints and adaptations is the central unresolved question in biology and the overall focus of our work. We address it both conceptually, by combining approaches from systems biology to genetics166,136 and empirically, by integrating field and laboratory methods of developmental biology, genomics, biophysics, behavioral ecology, and population biology. Our most recent work showed how the structure of ancestral carotenoid networks drives contemporary evolution of avian coloration, correctly predicting its diversification and elaboration145,167, how dynamic integration of physical and biological processes in development reconciles seemingly conflicting needs for modification and robustness173 and ultimately channels evolutionary change115, how stress-buffering mechanisms accomplish both functionality of adaptive states and evolutionary transitions between them170, how allometries and life histories evolve147,150 and how complex behaviors emerge through channeling in neural development and drive evolutionary change163. We work on a variety of organismal systems but are most knowledgeable about the natural history and evolutionary biology of birds and mammals and are very lucky to study them in some of the most beautiful and wildest places on earth.

Selected Publications: 

  1. Potticary, A. L., E. S. Morrison, and A.V. Badyaev. 2020. Turning induced plasticity into refined adaptations during range expansion. Nature Communications: 11, 3254
  2. Badyaev, A.V., A.B. Posner, E.S. Morrison and D. M. Higginson. 2019. Cycles of external dependency drive evolution of avian carotenoid networks. Nature Communications: 10, 1596.
  3. Badyaev, A. V. 2019. Evolutionary transitions in controls reconcile adaptation with continuity of evolution. Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology 88: 36-45
  4. Morrison, E.S. and A.V. Badyaev. 2018. Structure versus time in evolutionary diversification of avian carotenoid networks. Journal of evolutionary Biology 31: 764-772.
  5. Badyaev, A. V. and E.S. Morrison. 2018. Emergent buffering balances evolvability and robustness in the evolution of phenotypic flexibility. Evolution 72: 647-662.
  6. Badyaev, A.V., et al. 2017. Most colorful example of genetic assimilation? Exploring the evolutionary destiny of recurrent phenotypic accommodation. American Naturalist 190: 266-280.
  7. Higginson, D.M., V. Belloni, S.N. Davis, E. S. Morrison, J.E. Andrews, and A.V. Badyaev. 2016. Evolution of long-term coloration trends with biochemically unstable ingredients. Proceedings of Royal Society, Biological Sciences. Lond. 283 (1831): 20160403.
  8. Morrison, E.S. and A.V. Badyaev. 2016. Structuring evolution: Biochemical networks and metabolic diversification in birds. BMC Evolutionary Biology 16: 168.
  9. Badyaev, A.V., et al. 2015. Tradeoff between robustness and elaboration in carotenoid networks produces cycles of avian color diversification. Biology Direct 10: 45.doi:10.1186/s13062-015-0073-6
  10. Badyaev, A.V. 2014. Epigenetic resolution of the “curse of complexity” in adaptive evolution of complex traits. The Journal of Physiology 592: 2251–2260.
  11. Badyaev, A.V. and J. Bruce Walsh. 2014. Epigenetic processes and genetic architecture in character origination and evolution. Pp. 177-189 in Quantitative Genetics in the Wild. A. Charmantier, D. Garant, LEB Kruuk, Eds. Oxford University Press.
  12. Badyaev, A.V. 2013. "Homeostatic hitchhiking": a mechanism for the evolutionary retention of complex adaptations. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53: 913-922.
  13. Newman, S.A. N. Mezentseva, and A. V. Badyaev. 2013. Gene loss, thermogenesis and the origin of birds. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1289: 36-47.
  14. Landeen, E. A. and A.V. Badyaev. 2012. Developmental integration of feather growth and pigmentation and its implications for the evolution of diet-derived coloration. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 318: 59-70.
  15. Badyaev, A.V. 2011. Origin of the fittest: Link between emergent variation and evolutionary change as a critical question in evolutionary biology. Proceedings of Royal Society, Biological Sciences. Lond. 278: 1921-1929.
  16. Badyaev, A.V. 2010. The Beak of the Other Finch: Coevolution of genetic covariance structure and developmental modularity during adaptive evolution. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., Biol. Sci. 365: 1111-1126.
  17. Badyaev, A.V. and T. Uller. 2009. Parental effects in ecology and evolution: Mechanisms, processes, and implications. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences 364: 1169-1177.
  18. Badyaev, A.V. 2009. Evolutionary significance of phenotypic accommodation in novel environments: An empirical test of the Baldwin effect. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 364: 1125-1141.
  19. Badyaev, A.V., R. L. Young, K. P. Oh, and C. Addison. 2008. Evolution on a local scale: Developmental, functional, and genetic bases of divergence in bill form and associated changes in song structure between adjacent habitats. Evolution 62: 1951-1964.
  20. Badyaev, A.V., et. al. 2008. Evolution of sex-biased maternal effects: IV. Intra-ovarian growth dynamics links sex-determination and sex-specific acquisition of resources. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 449–460.
  21. Badyaev, A.V. and K. P. Oh. 2008. Environmental induction and phenotypic retention of adaptive maternal effects. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:3.
  22. Rutkowska, J. and A.V. Badyaev. 2008. Meiotic drive and sex determination: Molecular and cytological mechanisms of sex ratio adjustment in birds. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 363: 1675-1686.
  23. Young, R. L., T.S. Haselkorn, and A.V. Badyaev. 2007. Functional equivalence of morphologies enables morphological and ecological diversity. Evolution 61: 2480–2492.
  24. Badyaev, A.V., et. al. 2006. Sex-biased maternal effects reduce ectoparasite-induced mortality in a passerine bird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 103: 14406-14411.
  25. Young, R.L., and A.V. Badyaev. 2006. Evolutionary persistence of phenotypic integration: Influence of developmental and functional relationships on evolution of a complex trait. Evolution 60: 1291–1299.
  26. Oh, K.P. and A.V. Badyaev. 2006. Adaptive genetic complementarity in mate choice can coexist with preference for elaborate sexual traits. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences 273: 1913-1919.