JON SEGER portrait
  • Professor, School Of Biological Sciences


  • Dobson AP, Godfray CJ, Levin SA, Pacala SW, Rubenstein DI, Seger J (2020) Resolution of Respect: Robert M. May (1936–2020). Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 102(1):e01769. Published, 09/24/2020.
  • Marón CF, Budge SM, Ward RE, Valenzuela LO, Di Martino M, Ricciardi M, Sironi M, Uhart M, Seger J, Rowntree VJ (2020) Evaluation of fatty acids and stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N) in southern right whale calves (Eubalaena australis) in relation to age and mortality at Península Valdés, Argentina. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 646:189-200, Published, 07/30/2020.
  • Seger J (2020) Robert M May (1936-2020). Current Biology 30 (Issue 12, R680–R683) (obituary) Published, 06/22/2020.
  • Carroll EL, Ott PH, McMillan LF, Galletti Vernazzani B, Neveceralova P, Vermeulen E, Gaggiotti OE, Andriolo A, Baker CS, Bamford C, Best P, Cabrera E, Calderan S, Chirife A, Fewster RM, Flores PAC, Frasier T, Freitas TRO, Groch K, Hulva P, Kennedy A, Leaper R, Leslie MS, Moore M, Oliveira L, Seger J, Stepien EN, Valenzuela LO, White B, Zerbini A, Jackson JA (2020) Genetic diversity and connectivity of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) found in the Chile-Peru wintering ground and South Georgia/Islas Georgias del Sur feeding ground. J Heredity 111: 263-276, doi:10.1093/jhered/esaa010. Published, 05/2020.
  • Amici AA, Nadkarni NM, DiBlasi E, Seger J (2019) Contrasting effects of host tree isolation on population connectedness in two tropical epiphytic bromeliads. Am J Botany 106(12): 1602-1611, doi:10.1002/ajb2.1391. Published, 12/2019.
  • Marón CF, Di Martino M, Chirife A, Beltramino L, Alzugaray L, Adler FR, Seger J, Sironi M, Rowntree VJ, Lábaque MC, Uhart M (2019) No evidence of malnutrition in dead southern right whale calves off Argentina as inferred from blubber thickness measurements and lipid content analyses. International Whaling Commission scientific report SC/67B/CMP/03, presented to IWC Scientific Committee, Bled, Slovenia, May 2018 (available on IWC web site). Published, 11/01/2019.
  • Carroll EL, Alderman R, Bannister JL, Bérubé M, Best PB, Boren L, Baker CS, Constantine R, Findlay K, Harcourt R, Lemaire L, Palsbøll PJ, Patenaude NJ, Rowntree VJ, Seger J, Steel D, Valenzuela LO, Watson M, Gaggiotti OE (2019) Incorporating non-equilibrium dynamics into demographic history inferences of a migratory marine species. Heredity 122: 53–68, doi:10.1038/s41437-018-0077-y. Published, 01/2019.
  • Valenzuela LO, & Rowntree VJ, Sironi M, Seger J (2018). Stable isotopes (δ15N, δ13C, δ34S) in skin reveal diverse food sources used by southern right whales Eubalaena australis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. Vol. 603, 243-255. Published, 09/17/2018.
  • Seger J, Rowntree VJ (2018) Whale lice. In Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, Third Edition (ed B Würsig, JGM Thewissen, KM Kovacs), pp 1051-1054. Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-12-804327-1. Published, 01/01/2018.
  • Eroh GD, Clayton FC, Florell SR, Cassidy PB, Chirife A, Marón CF, Valenzuela LO, Campbell MS, Seger J, Rowntree VJ, Leachman SA (2017) Cellular and ultrastructural characterization of the grey-morph phenotype in southern right whales (Eubalaena australis). PLoS ONE 12(2): e0171449. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171449. Published, 02/17/2017.
  • Lewis-Rogers N, Seger J, Adler FR (2017) Human rhinovirus diversity and evolution: How strange the change from Major to minor. Journal of Virology (early on line, doi:10.1128/JVI.01659-16). Published, 01/18/2017.
  • Safavi-Hemami H, Lu A, Robinson SD, Li Q, Fedosov AE, Biggs J, Showers Corneli P, Seger J, Yandell M, Olivera BM (2016) Venom insulins of cone snails diversify rapidly and track prey taxa. Mol Biol Evol 33: 2924-2934, doi:10.1093/molbev/msw174. Published, 08/14/2016.
  • Carroll D, Van Eenennaam AL, Taylor JF, Seger J, Voytas DF (2016) Regulate genome-edited products, not genome editing itself. Nature Biotechnology 34: 477-479, doi:10.1038/nbt.3566. Published, 05/06/2016.
  • Marón CF, Beltramino L, Di Martino M, Chirife A, Seger J, Uhart M, Sironi M, Rowntree VJ (2015) Increased wounding of southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) calves by kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) at Península Valdés, Argentina. PLoS ONE 10(10):e0139291, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0139291. Published, 10/2015.
  • Wilson C, Sastre AV, Hoffmeyer M, Rowntree VJ, Fire S, Santinelli NH, Díaz Ovejero S, D’Agostino V, Marón CF, Doucette GJ, Broadwater MH, Wang Z, Montoya N, Seger J, Adler FR, Sironi M, Uhart MM (2015) Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) calf mortality at Península Valdés, Argentina: are harmful algal blooms to blame? Marine Mammal Science, DOI: 10.1111/mms.12263. Published, 09/04/2015.
  • Olivera BM, Seger J, Horvath MP, Fedosov A (2015) Prey-capture strategies of fish-hunting cone snails: behavior, neurobiology and evolution. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 86:58-74, DOI:10.1159/000438449. Published, 09/2015.
  • Marón CF, Rowntree VJ, Sironi M, Uhart M, Payne RS, Adler FR, Seger J (2015) Estimating population consequences of increased calf mortality in the southern right whales off Argentina. International Whaling Commission scientific report SC/66a/BRG/1, presented to IWC Scientific Committee, San Diego, June 2015 (available on the IWC web site). Published, 06/2015.
  • Kaltenpoth M, Roeser-Mueller K, Stubblefield JW, Seger J, Strohm E. (2014) Biogeography of a defensive symbiosis. Communicative & Integrative Biology 7(6) e993265, DOI:10.4161/19420889.2014.993265. Published, 10/28/2014.
  • Kaltenpoth M, Roeser-Mueller K, Koehler S, Peterson A,Nechitaylo T, Stubblefield JW, Herzner G, Seger J, Strohm E. (2014) Partner choice and fidelity stabilize co-evolution in a Cretaceous-age defensive symbiosis. PNAS 111:6359-6364. DOI/10.1073/pnas.1400457111. [1]. Published, 04/15/2014.
  • Rowntree VJ, Uhart MM, Sironi M,Chirife A, Di Martino M, La Sala L, Musmeci L, Mohamed N, Andrejuk J, McAloose D, Sala JE, Carribero A, Rally H, Franco M, Adler FR, Brownell RL Jr, Seger J, Rowles T. (2013) Unexplained recurring high mortality of southern right whale Eubalaena australis calves at Península Valdés, Argentina. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 493:275–289. DOI:10.3354/meps10506. Published, 11/20/2013.
  • Kraus NJ, Watkins M, Bandyopadhyay P, Seger J, Olivera BM, Showers Corneli P. (2012) A very short, functionally constrained sequence diagnoses cone snails in several Conasprella clades. Mol Phylog Evol 65:335–338. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.06.014. Published, 10/2012.
  • Slikas B, Baker CS, Clapham P, Frasier TR, Seger J, Valenzuela LO, Wade P. 2012. Worldwide genomic diversity and phylogenetic relationships among right whales based on next-generation sequencing of complete mitochondrial genomes and multiple nuclear loci. International Whaling Commission Research Proposal, SC/64/BRG15, presented to IWC Scientific Committee, Panama, June 2012 (unpublished, available from IWC office, 8 pp). Published, 06/01/2012.
  • Kaltenpoth M, Showers Corneli P, Dunn DM, Weiss RB, Strohm E, Seger J. (2012) Accelerated evolution of mitochondrial but not nuclear genomes of Hymenoptera: new evidence from crabronid wasps. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32826. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0032826. Published, 03/2012.

Research Statement


Most mutations that strike genes and other adapted regions of a genome are expected to be deleterious because there are more ways to break a gene than to improve it. A strongly deleterious mutation causes little net harm because it is quickly eliminated by selection, but a weakly deleterious mutation may drift to high frequency or even fix, depending on the population size, the strength of selection, and the indirect effects of selection at other sites in the mutation's genomic neighborhood. Thus many weakly deleterious mutations could circulate at intermediate frequencies, degrading fitness substantially. This process is expected to warp mitochondrial genome genealogies in three different ways, and the mitochondria of whale lice show all of the patterns predicted by our models. We are extending this theoretical and empirical system to estimate the complete distribution of mutational effect sizes. Eventually we hope to understand how weakly selected variation interferes with ecological and social adaptation.

Research Keywords

  • Evolutionary Genetics
  • Evolutionary Ecology


  • University of Florida, Department of Biology, Robert Holt Lab Group Meeting, 6 July 2020, Adapt to climate change? Be careful what you wish for. (Remote presentation via Zoom.). Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 07/06/2020.
  • University of Utah, Department of Anthropology, 26 February 2015, Adaptation is awful. Let your partners do it for you. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/26/2015.
  • HBES (Human Evolution and Behavior Society) annual meeting, Natal, Brazil, 30 July 2014, opening plenary talk about Bill Hamilton's many influences on 21st-century biology. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 07/30/2014.
  • University of Rochester, Department of Biology, 28 March 2014, Using right whales and their prey to estimate the abundance of nearly neutral mutations. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/28/2014.
  • Utah State University, Uintah Basin, 10 January 2014, Using right whales and their prey to estimate the abundance of nearly neutral mutations. Also, The biology of variation: an experimental course for first-year students. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 01/10/2014.