Sara M. Lewis

Sara M. Lewis

Robinson Hall, Room 363
200 College Avenue, Medford, MA


  • AB, Harvard College, 1976
  • PhD, Duke University, 1984


Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology

Research Interests

Graduate Research Area: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution

The Lewis laboratory is interested in a broad range of questions in evolutionary ecology, and our research is aimed at understanding how selection acts in natural populations. This work combines field and laboratory experiments, and uses a variety of model organisms including insects, fish, and marine invertebrates.

One major research focus concerns the key evolutionary process of sexual selection, based on differences among individuals in their mating and/or paternity success. We are particularly interested in how variation in sex ratio, population density, and parental investment patterns determines both courtship behaviors and post-copulatory behaviors. This work includes studies that have explored:

  • Mechanisms of sperm precedence
  • Nuptial gift evolution
  • Ecological context of sexual selection

We are also interested in other aspects of behavioral and community ecology, including plant-herbivore interactions, foraging behavior, and the evolution of prey defenses in marine organisms. This work includes:

  • Herbivory in tropical reef communities
  • Hermit crab shell choice behavior and resource limitation

These research projects are described in greater detail on the Lewis Laboratory website.

Teaching/Courses Taught

Biology 132: Biostatistics
Biology 244: Graduate Seminar in Evolutionary Ecology
Biology 51: Experiments in Ecology