Paul Schmidt

Dr. Paul Schmidt

Patricia M. Williams Term Professor of Biology

Undergraduate Chair


Research Interests

225 Leidy Laboratory

Office Hours
M 12-1pm, Th 3-4pm zoom meeting ID 640 016 1269

Ph.D., Brown University, 1999

Research Interests


evolutionary ecology, ecological and evolutionary genetics


As a research group, we are broadly interested in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of populations that experience environmental heterogeneity over various spatial and temporal scales.  We seek to understand mechanistically how natural selection works in heterogeneous environments, the context dependency and many constraints on this process, and how this ultimately produces an adaptive response.   Our research combines extensive sampling of natural populations and –omics level characterizations, laboratory-based classical and molecular genetics, and experimentation conducted in both the field and laboratory.   Much of our work is centered on testing the functional significance of identified molecular polymorphism: establishing concrete links between allelic variation, physiologically mediated performance, and the differential fitness of genotypes among environments. 

For information about current research in my laboratory, please see our lab webpage.



Courses Taught


BIOL 2410 - Evolutionary Biology

BIOL 3851 - Biology and Society

Selected Publications

Rudman, S.M., S.I. Greenblum, S. Rajpurohit, N.J. Betancourt, J. Hanna, S. Tilk, T. Yokoyama, D.A. Petrov and P. Schmidt. 2022. Direct observation of adaptive tracking on ecological timescales in Drosophila. Science 375 (6586): 1246 Commentary: Hoffmann, A.A. and T. Flatt. 2022. The rapid tempo of adaptation. Science 375 (6586): 1226. DOI: 10.1126/science.abo1817

Machado, H., A.O. Bergland, R. Taylor, S. Tilk, E. Behrman, K. Dyer, D.K. Fabian, T. Flatt, J. Gonzalez, T.L. Karasov, I. Koretska, B.P. Lazzaro, T.J. Merritt, J.E. Pool, K. O'Brien, S. Rajpurohit, P.R. Roy, S.W. Schaeffer, S. Serga, P. Schmidt and D. Petrov. 2021. Broad geographic sampling reveals the shared basis and environmental correlates of seasonal adaptation in Drosophila. eLife. 10:e67577 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.67577

Grainger, T.N., S.R. Rudman, P. Schmidt and J.M. Levine. 2021. Competitive history shapes rapid evolution in a seasonal climate. PNAS. 118 (6) e2015772118;

Betancourt, N., Rajpurohit, S., E. Durmaz, M. Kapun, T. Flatt and P. Schmidt. 2021. Allelic polymorphism at foxo contributes to adaptive patterns of life history differentiation in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Ecology.

Rudman, S.M., S. Greenblum, R. Hughes, S. Rajpurohit, O. Kiratli, D. Lowder, S. Lemmon, D. A. Petrov, J. M. Chaston, and P. Schmidt. 2019. Microbiome composition shapes rapid genomic adaptation of Drosophila melanogaster. PNAS 116 (40) 20025-20032.

Rajpurohit, S., E. Gefen, A.O. Bergland, D.A. Petrov, A.G. Gibbs and P.S. Schmidt. 2018. Spatiotemporal patterns of desiccation tolerance in natural populations Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Ecology 27:3525-40.

Behrman, E.L., V. Howick, A.O. Bergland, F. Staubach, D.A. Petrov, B. Lazzaro and P.S. Schmidt. 2018. Rapid seasonal evolution in innate immunity of wild Drosophila melanogaster. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. Ser. B. 285: 20172599. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2599.