Swanne Gordon

Assistant Professor CALS Graduate Diversity and Inclusion Lead


I am a behavioral and evolutionary ecologist who studies the evolution of diversity and how it is maintained under rapid change in mainly fish (mainly Trinidadian guppies) and Lepidoptera. To do this my lab uses a combination of sub-disciplines, through our own research pursuits as well as collaboration, to develop a more integrative understanding of how diverse sexual characteristics become established and maintained in nature, even in the face of environmental changes. 

Research Focus

Understanding how organisms evolve to changing environments is fundamental to developing an efficient response to our current biodiversity crisis. For example, some introduced species are often initially restricted in their new environments, but then abruptly proliferate to become invasive pests. This change may be caused by the ability of the invader to quickly evolve new adaptations after establishment. Research in our lab uses a multidisciplinary approach, including a combination of field, laboratory, mathematical, and behavioral experiments to study the selective forces maintaining diversity in four main areas: 1) rapid evolution of guppies to novel environments; 2) warning color polymorphism; 3) urban ecology; and 4) the role of behavior in eco-evolutionary dynamics. In each topic much of our research focuses specifically on the interplay between natural and sexual selection in driving many of our studied traits. A major focus on our lab also involves outreach to increase diversity in STEMM, to decolonize research and academic arenas, and to provide a safe and inclusive space where everyone feels welcome to pursue and be passionate about evo-ecological research.


Please see a current list of publications here

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BIOEE Courses - Spring 2024

BIOEE Courses - Fall 2024