Scott Hodges

Professor and Vice Chair
(805) 893-7813
4105 Life Sciences Building


Scott Hodges received his undergraduate degrees in Botany and Biology at the University of California, Berkeley where he also received his Ph.D. in Botany in Herbert Baker’s laboratory. He then taught Ecology at Barnard College in Manhattan, followed by a postdoctoral position at the University of Georgia in Mike Arnold’s laboratory, where he began his studies on Aquilegia. He then began his current position on the faculty in EEMB.


The goal of our research is to elucidate the genetic basis of adaptation and speciation. We have focused our efforts primarily on floral diversity in Aquilegia because of the huge variation in floral form among species with adaptations to bee, hummingbird and hawkmoth pollination. In particular, we have shown that the length, shape and color of nectar spurs affect which, and how, animals act as pollinators, which influence reproductive isolation. We have linked these studies with macroevolutionary patterns showing that the evolution of spurs is correlated with speciation and species diversification.

We are now working to identify the specific genetic variation accounting for floral and ecological variation in Aquilegia. To that end, I have led the development of genomic resources for the genus with colleagues Elena Kramer (Harvard U.), Magnus Nordborg (Gregor Mendel Inst., Vienna) and Justin Borevitz (Australian National University). Particularly exciting has been the development of a high quality reference genome by the Joint Genome Institute.

Selected Publications

  • Noustos, C, JO Borevitz, and SA Hodges. Speciation with gene flow: Genotypic and phenotypic differentiation, and isolation by distance within and between Aquilegia formosa and A. pubescens. Submitted
  • Fior, S, M Li, L Ometto, R Viola, SA Hodges, and C Varotto. Spatiotemporal reconstruction of the Aquilegia rapid radiation through next-generation sequencing of rapidly evolving cpDNA. Submitted
  • Puzey, JR, SJ Gerbode, SA Hodges, EM Kramer and L Mahadevan. 2011. Evolution of spur-length diversity in Aquilegia petals is achieved solely through cell-shape anisotropy. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 279, 1640-1645. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.1873.
  • Fang, G-C, BP Blackmon, DC Henry, ME Staton, CA Saski, SA Hodges, JP Tomkins & H Luo. 2010. Genomic tools development for Aquilegia: Construction of a BAC-based physical map. BMC Genomics 11:621, doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-621.
  • Yang, JY and SA Hodges. 2010. Early inbreeding depression selects for high outcrossing rates in Aquilegia formosa and Aquilegia pubescens. International Journal of Plant Sciences 171(8):860–871.
  • Voelckel, C., J Borevitz, EM Kramer and SA Hodges. 2010. Within and between whorls: comparative transcriptional profiling of Aquilegia and Arabidopsis. PLoS One 5(3): e9735. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009735.
  • Cooper, EA, JB Whittall, SA Hodges, and M Nordborg. 2010. Genetic variation at nuclear loci fails to distinguish two morphologically distinct species of Aquilegia. PLoS ONE 5(1): e8655. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008655
  • Kramer, EM and SA Hodges. 2010. Aquilegia as a model system for the evolution and ecology of petals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 365, 477–490 doi:10.1098/rstb.2009.0230
  • Hodges, SA and NJ Derieg. 2009. Adaptive radiations: From field to genomic studies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106:9947-9954, doi:10.1073/pnas.0901594106
  • Abzhanov, A, C Extavour, A Groover, SA Hodges, H Hoekstra, EM Kramer and A Monteiro. 2008. Are we there yet? Tracking the development of new model systems. Trends in Genetics 24(7): 353-360, doi:10.1016/j.tig.2008.04.002
  • Whittall, JB and SA Hodges. 2007. Pollinator shifts drive increasingly long nectar spurs in columbine flowers. Nature 447:706-709.