- B. A., 1992, University of Colorado – Boulder, Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology
- Ph. D., 1998, University of Georgia, Genetics
- Postdoc, 1998-2002, Oregon State University, Zoology
Joined the Biology Department in 2004.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Texas A&M
Marine Biology Interdisciplinary Graduate Program
Jones Lab Website
Adam G. Jones
College Station, TX 77843-3258
Biological Sciences Building East
Biological Sciences Building East
Research in the Jones Lab is concerned with the mechanisms of phenotypic change in evolutionary lineages. Most of the research effort in the lab is directed at (1) the use of molecular techniques to resolve unanswered questions in sexual selection, (2) theoretical studies of quantitative genetics and behavior, and (3) the evolution of major morphological innovations. Other research projects in the lab involve population genetics, conservation genetics, speciation and molecular evolution.
Sexual Selection, Mating Patterns, and Gamete Competition in Seahorses and Pipefishes: The fish family Syngnathidae includes about 35 species of seahorses, 180 species of pipefishes and two species of sea dragons. All of these species display male pregnancy. Females transfer the eggs to the male’s body, and the male carries the developing young until they hatch. Male pregnancy is interesting from a sexual selection standpoint, because the potential reproductive rates of males can be reduced so much that they become a limiting resource for reproduction. This situation results in a reversal in the direction of sexual selection with females competing among themselves for access to receptive males. Consequently, in some species of pipefish, ornaments and other traits involved in mate acquisition evolve in females, a reversal of the usual situation in which such traits evolve in the males alone. Pipefish and their relatives thus provide a great model system in which to test theories of sexual selection. Research on this topic in the Jones lab is concerned with the use of molecular markers (usually microsatellite markers) to characterize patterns of sexual selection in natural populations with an emphasis on current controversial theories relating to mating behavior to sexual selection.
The Evolution of Male Pregnancy and the Brood Pouch: Another major project in the Jones lab is concerned with the evolution of the major transition from males defending eggs in a nest to the male actually carrying the eggs within a specialized structure on his body. Seahorses and some of their relatives possess a brood pouch, and this structure is not seen outside of the family Syngnathidae. This structure is clearly a major morphological innovation that has had far reaching consequences with respect to the evolution and ecology of pipefishes and seahorses. The question is how such a structure originates during the course of evolution. We are using a combination of molecular techniques, including subtraction libraries and microarrays, to identify the genes involved in male pregnancy. Detailed analyses of these particular male-pregnancy genes, as well as comparative studies among species with different types of brood pouches, will shed light on the origin of the amazing phenomenon of male pregnancy and will contribute to our general understanding of the evolution of morphological innovations.