Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences

< Back to list

Michal Polak

Title: Professor
Office: 820A Rieveschl Hall
Tel: 513-556-9736
Email: michal.polak@uc.edu

SBBE, Behavior, Sexual Selection; Sperm Competition; Insect Host-Parasite Biology; Evolutionary Ecology

Education

  • PhD, Arizona State University, 1995.
  • MS, University of Toronto, 1992.

Research Information

Research Interests

Wecome to the Polak Lab at the University of Cincinnati!

Our research focuses on Sexual Selection and Host-Parasite Evolutionary Ecology.  We use insects, mainly fruit flies, as model study systems.

Please visit our website to explore the ideas and people of the Polak Lab ...

Research Support

  • (PI), Polak, Michal, Costs of Resistance in a Natural Host-Parasite System, National Science Foundation. (DEB-0345990-001), $326,018.00. 04/15/2004 to 03/31/2008.
  • (PI), Polak, Michal, Genetic Tradeoffs in Resistance to Natural Enemies, National Science Foundation. (DEB-0128999-001REU), $56,000.00. 04/15/2002 to 03/31/2004. Status: Closed.
  • (PI), Polak, Michal, Genetic Determinants of a Model Host Parasite System, National Science Foundation. (DEB-9996218-001 REU), $128,260.00. 12/31/1998 to 08/28/2002. Status: Closed.
  • (PI), Polak, Michal, Mechanisms of Secondary Sexual Trait Diversification, National Science Foundation. (DEB-1118599), $520,530.00. 10/01/2011 to 09/30/2015. Status: Active.
  • (PI), Benoit, Joshua; Polak, Michal, Costs of Parasite Resistance - An integrated study of underlying mechanisms, National Science Foundation. (DEB-1654417), $882,296.00. 05/01/2017 to 04/30/2021. Status: Awarded.

Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Gray, L.J., Simpson, S.J., and Polak, M. 2015. Nutritional geometry reveals divergent patterns of condition dependence in male fitness components. In review.
  • Polak, M., Hooker, K.J., and Tyler, F. 2015. Consistent postitive co-variation between fluctuating asymmetry and sexual trait size: A challenge to the developmental-instability sexual selection hypothesis. Symmetry, 7: 976-993, doi:10.3390/sym7020976[Link]
  • Polak, M., Fanson, K.V.P., Taylor, P.W., & Yap, S. 2015. Differential genotypic effects of sexual trait size on offspring mating success and viability. Behavioral Ecology, published online Oct 21, 2015, doi: 10.1093/beheco/arv174.[Link]
  • Luong, L.T., Polak, M., Horn, C., and Penoni, L.R. 2015. Physical and physiological costs of ectoparasitic mites on host flight endurance. Ecological Entomology, 40: 518-524. DOI: 10.1111/een.12218[Link]
  • Le Vasseur-Viens, H., Polak, M., and Moehring, A. 2015. No evidence for external genital morphology affecting cryptic female choice and reproductive isolation in Drosophila. Evolution, 69: 1797-1807. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12685[Link]
  • Hurtado-Gonzales, J.L., Gallaher, W., Warner, A. & POLAK, M. 2014. Microscale laser surgery demonstrates the grasping function of the male sex combs in Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila bipectinata. Ethology 120: 1-12, DOI: 10.1111/eth.12316[Link]
  • Grieshop, K., & Polak, M. 2014. Evaluating the post-copulatory sexual selection hypothesis for genital evolution reveals evidence for pleiotropic harm exerted by the male genital spines of Drosophila ananassae. J. evol. Biol., 27: 2676-2686, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12524[Link]
  • Polak, M. and Tomkins, J.L. 2013. Developmental selection against developmental instability: A direct demonstration. Biology Letters, 9: 20121081, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2012.1081[Link]
  • Grieshop, K. and Polak, M. 2012. The precopulatory function of male genital spines in Drosophila ananassae [Doleschall] (Diptera: Drosophilidae) revealed by laser surgery. Evolution 66: 2637-2645, DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01638.x[Link]
  • Hotzy, C., Polak, M., Rönn, J. and Arnqvist, G. 2012. Phenotypic engineering unveils the function of genital morphology. Current Biology, 22: 2258-2261.[Link]
  • Polak, M. and Tomkins, J.L., 2012. Developmental instability as phenodeviance in a secondary sexual trait increases with fitness-damaging thermal stress. J. evol. Biol., 25:277-287.[Link]
  • Kamimura, Y. and Polak, M. (2011). Does surgical manipulation of Drosophila intromittent organs affect insemination success? Proceedings of the Royal Society. Biological sciences. 278:815-16.
  • Rashed, A. & Polak, M. (2010). Differential condition dependence among morphological traits inferred from responses to heat stress is predicted by sexual selection theory. Biol J Linn Soc 101, 566-574.
  • Polak, M. & Rashed, A. (2010). Microscale laser surgery reveals adaptive function of intromittent male genitlia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 277: 1371-1376.[Link]
  • Polak, M. & Simmons, L.W. (2009). Secondary sexual trait size reveals competitive fertilization success in Drosophila bipectinata Duda. Behavioral Ecology, 20, 753-760. [Link]
  • Matthew E.H., Cameron, G.N., Cramer, M.J., Polak, M., Uetz, G.W. (2009). Live animal radiography to measure developmental instability in populations of small mammals after a natural disaster. Ecological Indicators, 9, 883-891.
  • Rashed, A. & Polak, M. (2009). Does male secondary sexual trait size reveal fertilization efficiency in Australian Drosophila bipectinata Duda (Diptera: Drosophilidae)?. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 98, 406-413.
  • Uetz, G.W., Roberts, J.A., Wrinn, K.M., Polak, M., Cameron, G.N. (2009). Impact of a catastrophic natural disturbance on fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in a wolf spider. Ecoscience, 16, 379-386.
  • Polak, M. (2008). Synthesis: The Developmental Instability - Sexual Selection Hypothesis. A general evaluation and case study. Evolutionary Biology, 35, 208-230. [Link]
  • Rashed, Arash, Hamilton, Brooke, & Polak, Michal (2008). Ectoparasite resistance is correlated with reduced host egg hatch rate in the Drosophila-Macrocheles system. Environmental entomology, 37(5), 1099-104.
  • Luong, Lien T, & Polak, Michal (2007). Costs of resistance in the Drosophila-macrocheles system: a negative genetic correlation between ectoparasite resistance and reproduction. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 61(6), 1391-402.
  • Jaenike, John, Polak, Michal, Fiskin, Anna, Helou, Mada, & Minhas, Miranda (2007). Interspecific transmission of endosymbiotic Spiroplasma by mites. Biology letters, 3(1), 23-5.
  • Luong, L.T., Heath, B.D., Polak, M. (2007). Host inbreeding increases susceptibility to ectoparasitism. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 20, 79-86.
  • Polak, M. & Taylor, P.W. (2007). A primary role of developmental instability in sexual selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 274, 3133-3140. [Link]
  • Cooperman, A.F., Polak, M., Evans, C.S., & Taylor, P.W. (2007). Different sexual traits show covariation among genotypes: implications for sexual selection. Behavioral Ecology, 18, 311-317.
  • Luong, L.T. & Polak, M. (2007). Costs of resistance in the Drosophila-Macrocheles system: A negative genetic correlation between ectoparasite resistance and reproduction. Evolution, 61, 1391-1402.
  • Polak, M., Luong, L.T., & Starmer, W.T. (2007). Parasites physically block host copulation: A potent mechanism of parasite-mediated sexual selection. Behavioral Ecology, 18, 952-957.
  • Luong, L.T. & Polak, M. (2007). Environment-dependent tradeoffs between ectoparasite resistance and larval competitive ability in the Drosophila-Macrocheles system. Heredity, 99, 632-640.
  • Polak, Michal, & Taylor, Phillip W (2007). A primary role of developmental instability in sexual selection. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 274(1629), 3133-40.
  • Luong, L.T., Polak, M. (2007). Environment-dependent trade-offs between ectoparasite resistance and larval competitive ability in the Drosophila-Macrocheles system. Heredity, 99(6), 632-640.
  • Polak, Michal, & Starmer, William T (2005). Environmental origins of sexually selected variation and a critique of the fluctuating asymmetry-sexual selection hypothesis. Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 59(3), 577-85.
  • McEvey, S.F. & Polak, M. (2005). Mycodrosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae) of Fiji and Vanuatu with a description of nine new species. Fiji Arthropods II: Bishop Museum Occasional Papers, 84, 35-67.
  • Polak, M. & Starmer, W.T. (2005). Environmental origins of sexually selected variation and a critique of the fluctuating asymmetry-sexual selection hypothesis. Evolution, 59, 577-585.
  • Halliday, R.B., Walter, D.E., Polak, M. (2005). A new species of ?Gamasodes Oudemans from Australia (Acari: Parasitidae). Zootaxa, 1001, 17-30.
  • Polak, Michal, & Stillabower, Elizabeth M (2004). The relationship between genotype, developmental stability and mating performance: disentangling the epigenetic causes. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 271(1550), 1815-21.
  • Polak, Michal, Starmer, William T, & Wolf, Larry L (2004). Sexual selection for size and symmetry in a diversifying secondary sexual character in Drosophila bipectinata Duda (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 58(3), 597-607.
  • Polak, Michal, Kroeger, David E, Cartwright, Iain L, & Ponce deLeon, Claudia (2004). Genotype-specific responses of fluctuating asymmetry and of preadult survival to the effects of lead and temperature stress in Drosophila melanogaster. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 127(1), 145-55.
  • Polak, M., Kroeger, D.E., Cartwright, I.L., Ponce de Leon, C. (2004). Genotype-specific responses of fluctuating asymmetry and of preadult survival to lead and temperature stress in Drosophila melanogaster. Environmental Pollution, 127, 145-155.
  • Polak, M., Starmer, W.T., Wolf, L.L. (2004). Sexual selection for size and symmetry in a diversifying secondary sexual character in Drosophila bipectinata Duda (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Evolution, 58, 597-607.
  • Polak, M. & Stillabower, E.M. (2004). The relationship between genotype, developmental stability and mating performance: Disentangling the epigenetic causes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 271, 1815-1821.
  • Polak, M., Kroeger, D.E., Cartwright, I.L., Ponce deLeon, C. (2004). Genotype-specific responses of fluctuating asymmetry and of preadult survival to the effects of lead and temperature stress in Drosophila melanogaster. Environmental Pollution, 127, 145-155.
  • Polak, M., Starmer, W.T., Wolf, L.L. (2004). Sexual selection for size and symmetry in a diversifying secondary sexual character in Drosophila bipectinata duda (Diptera : Drosophilidae). Evolution, 58, 597-607.
  • Polak, M (2003). Heritability of resistance against ectoparasitism in the Drosophila-Macrocheles system. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16, 74-82.
  • Starmer, W.T., Polak, M., Pitnick, S., McEvey S., Wolf, L.L., Barker, J.S.F (2003). Phylogenetic, geographical and temporal analysis of female reproductive tradeoff in Drosophila. Evolutionary Biology, 33, 139-171.
  • Starmer, W.T., Polak, M., Pitnick, S., McEvey, S.F., Barker, J.S.F., Wolf, L.L. (2003). Phylogenetic, geographical, and temporal analysis of female reproductive trade-offs in drosophilidae. Evolutionary Biology, 33, 139-171.
  • Polak, M., Opoka, R., Cartwright, I.L. (2002). Response of fluctuating asymmetry to arsenic toxicity: support for the developmental selection hypothesis. Environmental Pollution, 118, 19-28.
  • Polak, Michal, Opoka, Robert, & Cartwright, Iain L (2002). Response of fluctuating asymmetry to arsenic toxicity: support for the developmental selection hypothesis. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 118(1), 19-28.
  • Starmer, W.T., Patten, M., Polak, M. (2002). The statistics of detecting positional fluctuating asymmetry. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 77, 491-498.
  • Polak, M., Starmer, W.T. (2001). The quantitative genetics of fluctuating asymmetry. Evolution, 55, 498-511.
  • Polak, M., Wolf, L.L., Starmer, W.T., Barker, J.S.F. (2001). Function of the mating plug in Drosophila hibisci Bock. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 49, 196-205.
  • Wolf, L.L., Starmer, W.T., Polak, M., Barker, J.S. F. (2000). Genetic architecture of a wing size measure in Drosophila hibisci from two populations in eastern Australia. Heredity, 85, 521-529.
  • Wolf, L.L., Polak, M., Barker, J.S.F., Bowles, J., Starmer, W.T. (2000). Reproductive characteristics of Drosophila hibisci in the Northern Territory, Australia. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 71, 549-562.
  • Starmer, W.T., Polak, M., Wolf, L.L., Barker, J.S.F. (2000). Reproductive characteristics of the flower-breeding Drosophila hibisci Bock (Drosophilidae) in eastern Australia: within-population genetic determinants of ovariole number. Heredity, 84, 90-96.
  • Polak, M., Starmer, W.T. (1998). Parasite-induced risk of mortality elevates reproductive effort in male Drosophila. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 265, 2197-2201.Link]
  • Starmer, W.T., Polak, M., Wolf, L.L., Barker, J S. F. (1998). Reproductive characteristics of the flower breeding Drosophila hibisci bock (Drosophilidae) in eastern Australia: Genetic and environmental determinants of ovariole number. Evolution, 52, 806-815.
  • Polak, M., Starmer, W.T., Barker, J S. F. (1998). A mating plug and male mate choice in Drosophila hibisci Bock. Animal Behaviour, 56, 919-926.
  • Polak, M. (1998). Effects of ectoparasitism on host condition in the Drosophila-Macrocheles system. Ecology, 79, 1807-1817.
  • Polak, M. & Markow, T.A. (1995). Effect of ectoparasitic mites on sexual selection in a Sonoran Desert fruit fly. Evolution, 49, 660-669.
  • Polak, M. & Trivers, R.L. (1994). The science of symmetry in Biology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 9, 122-124.
  • Polak, M. (1994). Large-size advantage and assessment of resource holding potential in male Polistes fuscatus (F) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Animal Behaviour, 48, 1231-1234.
  • Polak, M. (1993). Landmark territoriality in the Neotropical paper wasps Polistes canadensis (L) and P. carnifex (F) (Hymenoptera, Vespidae). Ethology, 95, 278-290.

Books

  • Lawrence, R.D. & fully updated & revised by Polak, M. (2005). The Natural History of Canada, Second Edition. Toronto, Canada: Key Porter Books.
  • Polak, M. (Editor) (2003). Developmental Instability: Causes and Consequences. New York: Oxford University Press.

Book Chapter

  • POLAK, M., Møller, A.P., Gangestad, S., Manning, J., Thornhill, R. (2003). Developmental Instability: Causes and Consequences. In M. Polak (Eds.), Does an individual asymmetry parameter exist? A meta-analysis. (pp. 81-96). New York: Oxford University Press.

Experience & Service

Courses Taught

  • 15-BIOL-577 EVOLUTIONARY BIOL
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 10A

  • 15-BIOL-550 ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 10A