Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Scott Egan

Assistant Professor of BioSciences


I am interested in the processes that promote or constrain the evolution of new biological species. This includes (1) understanding the role of adaptation via natural selection in the speciation process and (2) exploring the genomic architecture associated with and mediating the evolution of new species. This work integrates natural history, manipulative field experiments, behavioral observations, population genetics, and genomics.

I also collaborate in a large interdisciplinary research group that combines principles of population genetics, ecology, engineering, biogeochemistry, and nanoparticle physics to address important societal challenges, such as the rapid environmental detection of disease or their vectors or invasive species, or quantifying biodiversity. We use environmental DNA sampling combined with targeted species-specific or community-wide metagenetic approaches.

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Schuler, H., S.P. Egan, G.R. Hood, R.W. Busbee, A. Driscoe & J.R. Ott Diversity and distribution of Wolbachia in relation to geography, host plant affiliation, and life cycle of a heterogonic gall wasp.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 2018

Hood, G.R., & S.P. Egan Ecological relevance of speciation.  Oxford Bibliographies, Oxford Press 2018

Hood, G.H., L. Zhang, L. Topper, P.F.P. Brandão-Dias F. Pinto, G.A. Del Pino, M.S. Comerford, & S.P. Egan ‘Closing the life cycle’ of Andricus quercuslanigera Ashmead 1881 (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae).  Annals of the Entomological Society of America 2018

Ragland, G., Meyers, P., Doellman, M., Hood, G., Egan, S.P., Powell, T.H.Q., Hahn, D., Nosil, P. & J. Feder A test of genomic modularity among life history adaptations promoting speciationwith-gene-flow.  Molecular Ecology 26 2017: 3926-3942

Egan, S.P Book review: The web of life, the tangled bank, and the frequency of genetic exchange.  BioScience 67 2017: 91–92

Egan S.P., K.L. Weinersmith, S. Liu, R.D. Ridenbaugh, Y.M. Zhang, & A.A. Forbes Description of a new species of Euderus Haliday from the southeastern United States (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea, Eulophidae): the crypt-keeper wasp..  ZooKeys 645 2017

Cowart, D.A., M.A. Renshaw, C.A. Gantz, J. Umek, S. Chandra, S.P. Egan, D.M. Lodge, & E.R. Larson Development and field validation of an environmental DNA (eDNA) assay for the invasive Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774).  Management of Biological Invasions 2017

Sim, S., M.M. Doellman, G.R. Hood, W.L. Lee, T.H.Q. Powell, D. Schwarz, R.B. Goughnour, S.P. Egan, G. St. Jean, J.J. Smith, T.E. Arcella, J.D.K, Dzurisin, & J.L. Feder Genetic evidence for the introduction of Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) into the Northwestern United States.  Journal of Economic Entomology 2017

Zhang, L., A. Driscoe, R. Izen, C. Toussaint, J.R. Ott, & S.P. Egan Immigrant inviability promotes reproductive isolation among host-associated populations of the gall wasp Belonocnema treatae.  Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 162 2017: 379–388

Gompert, Z., S.P. Egan, R. Barrett, J.L. Feder, & P. Nosil Multi-locus approaches for the measurement of selection on correlated genetic loci.  Molecular Ecology 26 2017: 365–382

Trebitz, A., J. Hoffman, J. Darling, E. Pilgrim, J. Kelly, J. Schardt, E. Brown, L. Chadderton, S.P. Egan, E. Grey, S. Hashsham, K. Klymus, A. Mahon, J. Ram, M. Schultz, & C. Stepien Science status and needs for implementing early detection monitoring of aquatic nonindigenous species.  Journal of Environmental Management 202 2017: 299-310

Feder, J.L. & S.P. Egan Sympatry and patterns of genetic differentiation in sympatry.  Reference Module in Life Sciences 2017

Weinersmith, K.L., S.M. Liu, A.A. Forbes, & S.P. Egan Tales from the crypt: A parasitoid manipulates the behavior of its parasite host.  Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, 284 2017

Larson, E.R., M.A. Renshaw, C.A. Gantz, J. Umek, S. Chandra, D.M. Lodge, & S.P. Egan Using environmental DNA (eDNA) to survey for the crayfishes Orconectes rusticus and Pacifastacus leniusculus between their reciprocal invasive ranges in North America.  Hydrobiologia, 800 2017: 173-185

Egan, S.P., G.R. Hood, & J.L. Feder 'Speciation-with-gene-flow' In: .  Encyclopdia of Evolutionary Biology 2016

Dougherty, M.M., E.R. Larson, M.A. Renshaw, C.A. Gantz, S.P. Egan, D.M.Erickson & D.M.Lodge Environmental DNA (eDNA) detects the invasive rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) at low abundances.  Journal of Applied Ecology 53 2016: 722–732

Schuler, H., G.R. Hood, S.P. Egan, & J.L. Feder Modes and Mechanisms of speciation.  Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, 2 2016: 60-93

Schuler, H., G.R. Hood, S.P. Egan, & J.L. Feder Modes and Mechanisms of speciation.  Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine 2 2016: 60–93

Lodge, D.M., and 30 coauthors, including S.P. Egan Risk Analysis and Bioeconomics of Invasive Species to Inform Policy and Management.  Annual Review of Environment and Resources 41 2016: 453-488

Feder, J.L. & S.P. Egan Sympatry and patterns of genetic differentiation in sympatry.  Reference Module in Life Sciences 2016

Gokhman, VE, Ott, JR and Egan, SP.  2015.  Chromosomes of Belonocnema treatae Mayr, 1881 (Hymenoptera, Cynipidae).  Comparative Cytogenetics 9(2) 221-226

Egan, SP, Ragland, GJ, Assour, L, Powell, THQ, Hood, GR, Emrich, S, Nosil, P, and  Feder, JL. 2015. Experimental evidence of genome-wide impact of ecological selection during early stages of speciation-with-gene-flow.  Ecology Letters 18 (8) 817-825.

Arcella, T, Hood, GR, Powell, THQ, Sim, SB, Yee, WL, Schwarz, D, Egan, SP, Goughnour, RB, Smith, JJ, and Feder, JL. 2015.  Hybridization and the spread of the apple maggot fly, Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae), in the northwestern United States.  Evolutionary Applications 8 (8) 834-846.

Egan, SP, Grey, E, Olds, B, Feder, JL, Ruggiero, ST, Tanner, CE, and Lodge, DM.  2015.  Rapid molecular detection of invasive species in ballast and harbor water by integrating environmental DNA and light transmission spectroscopy. Environmental Science & Technology 49 (7) 4113-4121.

Hood, GR; AA Forbes, THQ Powell, SP Egan, GS Hamerlinck, JJ Smith, and JL Feder.  2015. Sequential divergence and the multiplicative origin of community diversity. PNAS 112(44) E5980-9.

Ott, J.R. and S.P. Egan. 2014. Interspecific patterns of phenotypic selection do not predict intraspecific patterns. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, doi: 10.1111/jeb.12266. 

Soria-Carrasco, V., Z. Gompert, A.A. Comeault, T.E. Farkas, T.L. Parchman, J.S. Johnson, C.A. Buerkle, J.L. Feder, J. Bast, T. Schwander, S.P. Egan, B.J. Crespi, & P. Nosil.  2014. Stick insect genomes reveal natural selection's role in parallel speciation. Science 344: 738-742.

Mahon, A.R., M.A. Barnes, F. Li, S.P. Egan, C.E. Tanner, S.T. Ruggiero, J.L. Feder, and D.M. Lodge. 2013. DNA-based species detection capabilities using Laser Transmission Spectroscopy. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 10: 20120637.

Rull, J., M. Aluja, E. Tadeo, L. Guillen, S.P. Egan, M. Glover, and J.L. Feder. 2013. Distribution, host plant affiliation, phenology, and phylogeny of walnut-infesting Rhagoletis flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Mexico. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 110: 765-779.

Schuler, H., Bertheau, C., Egan, S.P., Feder, J.L., Riegler, M., Schlick-Steiner, B., Steiner, F., Johannesen, J., Kern, P., Koeppler, K., Arthofer, W., & Stauffer, C. 2013. Evidence for a recent horizontal transmission and expansion of Wolbachia from endemic Rhagoletis cerasi to invasive Rhagoletis cingulata in Europe. Molecular Ecology 22: 4101-4111

Saint Jean, G., S.P. Egan, W.L. Yee, and J.L. Feder. 2013. Genetic identification of an unknown Rhagoletis fruit fly infesting Chinese crabapple (Malus spectabilis): Implications for apple pest management. Journal of Economic Entomology 106: 1511-1515

Feder, J., S. Flaxman, S.P. Egan, A. Comeault, and P. Nosil. 2013. Geographic mode of speciation and genomic divergence. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 44: 73-97.

Feder, J.L., S.M. Flaxman, S.P. Egan, and P. Nosil. 2013. Hybridization and the buildup of genomic divergence during speciation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 261-266.

Egan, S.P., G.R. Hood, G. DeVela, and J.R. Ott. 2013. Parallel patterns of morphological and behavioral variation among host-associated populations of two gall wasp species. PLoS ONE 8: e54690.

Egan, S.P., M. Barnes, C.-T. Hwang, A.R. Mahon, J.L. Feder, S. Ruggiero, C. Tanner, and D.L. Lodge. 2013. Rapid invasive species detection by combining environmental DNA with LightTransmission Spectroscopy. 6: 402-409

Hood, G.R. ,W.Yee, R. Goughnour, S. Sim, S.P. Egan, T. Arcella, G. St. Jean, T.H.Q. Powell, C. Xu and J.L. Feder. 2013. The geographic distribution of Rhagoletis pomonella (Diptera: Tephritidae) in the western United States: Introduced species or native population? Annals of the Entomological Society of America 106: 59-65.

Research Website

  • Ph.D. Biology (2010) Vanderbilt University
  • B.S. Biology (EEB) (1999) University of Texas
  • M.S. Biology (2004) Texas State University
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
Research Areas
  • environmental diagnostics, evolution, speciation, population genetics and genomics
Professional Experience
  • Huxley Faculty Fellow
    Rice University
  • Research Assistant Professor & Faculty Fellow
    University of Notre Dame
Contact Information
Email: Scott.P.Egan@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-4913
Office: Anderson Biological Lab, 103