Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Julia Saltz

Assistant Professor of BioSciences


My work aims to understand the development and evolution of intra-population individual differences in behavior, with a particular focus on social behaviors. Why do individuals of the same species develop dramatic differences in behavior? How is this diversity maintained in the face of selection and drift? To address these questions, I work to integrate evolutionary ecology and psychology with quantitative, population and functional genetics, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

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Saltz, Julia B; Lymer, Seana; Gabrielian, Jessica; Nuzhdin, Sergey V; Genetic Correlations among Developmental and Contextual Behavioral Plasticity in Drosophila melanogaster.  The American Naturalist, 190 2017: 61-72

Saltz, JB; Genetic variation in social environment construction influences the development of aggressive behavior in Drosophila melanogaster.  Heredity, 118 2017: 340

Keiser, Carl N; Vojvodic, Svjetlana; Butler, Imani O; Sartain, Elizabeth; Rudolf, Volker HW; Saltz, Julia B; Queen presence mediates the relationship between collective behavior and disease susceptibility in ant colonies.  Journal of Animal Ecology 2017

Saltz, Julia B; Hessel, Frances C; Kelly, Morgan W; Trait Correlations in the Genomics Era.  Trends in ecology & evolution, 32 2017: 279-290

Saltz, Julia B; Geiger, Adam P; Anderson, Raleigh; Johnson, Benjamin; Marren, Rachel; What, if anything, is a social niche?.  Evolutionary ecology, 30 2016: 349-364

Saltz JB, Nuzhdin SV. Genetic variation in niche construction and its implications: response to Shuker. Trends Ecol Evol. 2014; 29(6):304-5. 

Saltz, Julia B; Nuzhdin, Sergey V; Genetic variation in niche construction: implications for development and evolutionary genetics.  Trends in ecology & evolution, 29 2014: 8-14

Saltz, Julia B; Genetic composition of social groups influences male aggressive behaviour and fitness in natural genotypes of Drosophila melanogaster.  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 280 2013: 20131926

Saltz JB. Genetic composition of social groups influences male aggressive behaviour and fitness in natural genotypes of Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Biol Sci. 2013 Sep 25; 280(1771):20131926.

Stamps JA, Saltz JB, Krishnan VV. Genotypic differences in behavioural entropy: unpredictable genotypes are composed of unpredictable individuals. Anim Behav. 2013 Sep; 86(3):641-649. 

Ardekani R, Biyani A, Dalton JE, Saltz JB, Arbeitman MN, Tower J, Nuzhdin S, Tavaré S. Three-dimensional tracking and behaviour monitoring of multiple fruit flies. J R Soc Interface. 2013 Jan 6; 10(78):20120547.

Saltz JB, Alicuben ET, Grubman J, Harkenrider M, Megowan N, Nuzhdin SV. Nonadditive indirect effects of group genetic diversity on larval viability in Drosophila melanogaster imply key role of maternal decision-making. Mol Ecol. 2012 May; 21(9):2270-81.

Conrad JL, Weinersmith KL, Brodin T, Saltz JB, Sih A. Behavioural syndromes in fishes: a review with implications for ecology and fisheries management. J Fish Biol. 2011 Feb; 78(2):395-435.

Saltz JB. Natural genetic variation in social environment choice: context-dependent gene-environment correlation in Drosophila melanogaster. Evolution. 2011 Aug; 65(8):2325-34. 

Saltz JB, Foley BR. Natural genetic variation in social niche construction:social effects of aggression drive disruptive sexual selection in Drosophila melanogaster. Am Nat. 2011 May; 177(5):645-54

Miller PM, Saltz JB, Cochrane VA, Marcinkowski CM, Mobin R, Turner TL. Natural variation in decision-making behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS One. 2011 Jan 20; 6(1):e16436. 

Saltz Lab website

  • A.B. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (2005) Princeton University
  • Ph.D. Population Biology (2011) University of California, Davis
  • Department of BioSciences
Research Areas
  • evolution, development, and genetics of behavior
Professional Experience
  • Postdoctoral Research
    University of Southern California
Contact Information
Email: Julia.B.Saltz@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-4716
Office: Anderson Biology Labs, 209B