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Past Postdoctoral Member: Tonia S. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Tonia S. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Curriculum Vitae 
Current Position:
Assistant Professor, Auburn University
Office Phone: (334) 844-1555


I am interested in understanding how organisms respond to their environment at the individual level (plasticity and acclimation), at the population level (evolution), and how these responses can varies across species. For my postdoctoral research I will be working on projects that address the following questions: 1) How do gene networks that link physiological stress and life-history traits evolve? 2) What is the persistence (transient, lifetime, or transgenerational) of epigenetic modification to the genome in response to physiological stress in ectotherms, and do these modifications play a role in adaptive acclimation. Additionally, I am interested in evolutionary systems biology. I will be working to develop a theoretical framework and computational models to make predictions on about how complex traits can evolve by integrating empirical data on molecular networks with life-history evolutionary theory, population processes, and ecological factors towards.

Brief Research Biography

Current – 2015: James S. McDonnell Post-doctoral Fellow in Complexity Science. Advisor: Dr. David Allison

2007-2012: PhD in Genetics. Advisors: Drs. Anne Bronikowski and Jo Anne Powell-Coffman, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, U.S.A
Dissertation Title:  The evolution of stress response and life history traits in natural populations of garter snakes.

2002-2005: Research Employment

  • 2005-2007: Lab Manager/Research Assistant at University of Wollongong, Australia. Dr. Mats Olsson.
  • 2004-2005: Research Assistant at University of Sydney, Australia. Dr. Frank Seebacher.
  • 2003-2004: Research Assistant at Macquarie University, Australia. Dr. Luciano Beheregary.
  • 2002-2003: Research Scientist at Florida Marine Research Institute. St. Petersburg, Florida.

1999-2003: MS in Zoology, Advisor: Dr. Stephen Karl, University of South Florida, Tampa, emphasis in Evolutionary Genetics, Molecular Ecology, and Conservation Genetics. 
Thesis Title: Population Structure of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) in Florida, using microsatellites.

1994-1998 BS in Zoology, minor in Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, U.S.A. Graduated ‘With Distinction’.


  1. Schwartz, TS, and AM Bronikowski. 2012. Dissecting molecular stress networks: identifying nodes of divergence between life-history phenotypes. Molecular Ecology. In Press. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365- 294X.2012.05750.x
  2. Ungvari, D., D Sosnowska, JB Mason, H Gruber, SW Lee, TS Schwartz, et al. 2012. Resistance to genotoxic stresses in Arctica islandica, the longest living noncolonial animal: is extreme longevity associated with a multistress resistance phenotype?" The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. In Press. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/gls193
  3. Sparkman, AM*, TS Schwartz*, J Madden, SE Boyken, JM Serb, NB Ford, and AM Bronikowski. 2012. Evolutionary rates vary among reptiles for insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a pleiotropic locus involved in life history traits. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 178(1): 164-173.
  4. Olsson, M, T Schwartz, E Wapstra, T Uller, B Ujvari, T Madsen, and R Shine. 2011. Climate change, multiple paternity and offspring survival in lizards. Evolution 65: 3323-3326.
  5. Schwartz, TS, C Perrin, E Wapstra, T Uller, and M Olsson. 2011. Complex selection associated with Hox genes in a natural population of lizards. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:2520-2524.
  6. Olsson, M, A Pauliny, E Wapstra, T Uller, T Schwartz and D Blomqvist. 2011. Sexual differences in telomere selection in the wild. Molecular Ecology 20: 2085-2099
  7. Shaddick, K, C Burridge, D Jerry, T Schwartz, K Truong, D Gilligan, and L Beheregaray. 2011. A hybrid zone and bi-directional introgression between the catadromous species: Australian bass and estuary perch. Journal of Fish Biology. 79: 1214-1235.
  8. Olsson, M, A Pauliny, E Wapstra, T Uller, T Schwartz and D Blomqvist. 2011. Sex Differences in Sand Lizard Telomere Inheritance: Paternal Epigenetic Effects Increases Telomere Heritability and Offspring Survival. PLoS ONE 6: e17473.
  9. Olsson, M, E Wapstra, T Schwartz, T Madsen, B Ujvari, T Uller and R Shine. 2011. In hot pursuit: fluctuating mating system and sexual selection in sand lizards. Evolution. 65(2): 574-53
  10. Schwartz, TS*, H Tae*, Y Yang, K Mockaitis, JL Van Hemert, SR Proulx, J-H Choi, and AM Bronikowski. 2010. A garter snake transcriptome: pyrosequencing, de novo assembly, and sexspecific differences. BMC Genomics. 11: 694-715.
  11. Atwell, C, G Holwell, TS Schwartz, K Umbers, A Stow, M Herberstein and L Beheregaray. 2009. Microsatellite markers for the praying mantid Ciulfina rentzi (Liturgusidae). Molecular Ecology Resources. 9(6): 1480-82.
  12. Olsson, M, T Schwartz, T Uller and M Healey. 2009. Effects of sperm storage and male colour on probability of paternity in a polychromatic lizard. Animal Behaviour 77:419-424.
  13. Corrigan, S, C Huveneers, TS Schwartz, RG Harcourt and LB Beheregaray. 2008. Genetic and reproductive evidence for two species of ornate wobbegong shark on the Australian East Coast. Journal of Fish Biology 73: 1662-1675.
  14. Schwartz, TS, S Murray and F Seebacher. 2008. Novel reptilian uncoupling proteins: molecular evolution and gene expression during cold acclimation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 275: 979-985.
  15. Schwartz, TS and LB Beheregaray. 2008. Using genotype simulations and Bayesian analyses to identify individuals of hybrid origin in Australian bass: lessons for fisheries management. Journal of Fish Biology 72: 435-450.
  16. Schwartz, T and M Olsson. 2008. Microsatellite markers developed for a Swedish population of sand lizard (Lacerta agilis). Conservation Genetics 9:715-717. Erratum 9:719-721.
  17. Schwartz, TS and SA Karl. 2008. Population genetic assignment of confiscated gopher tortoises. Journal of Wildlife Management 72: 254-259.
  18. Olsson, M, E Wapstra, M Healey, T Schwartz and T Uller. 2008. Selection on space use in a polymorphic lizard. Evolutionary Ecology Research 10:621-627.
  19. Schwartz, TS, DA Warner, LB Beheregaray and M Olsson. 2007. Microsatellite loci for Australian agamid lizards. Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 528-531.
  20. Olsson, M, T Schwartz, T Uller and M Healey. 2007. Sons are made from old stores: sperm storage effects on sex ratio in a lizard. Biology Letters 3: 491-493.
  21. Olsson, M, M Healey, E Wapstra, T Schwartz, N Lebas and T Uller. 2007. Mating system variation and morph fluctuations in a polymorphic lizard. Molecular Ecology 16: 5307-5315.
  22. Seebacher, F, TS Schwartz and MB Thompson. 2006. Transition from ectothermy to endothermy: the development of metabolic capacity in a bird (Gallus gallus). Proceedings of the Royal Society BBiological Sciences 273: 565-570.
  23. Schwartz, TS, and SA Karl. 2005. Population and conservation genetics of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). Conservation Genetics 6: 917-928.
  24. Schwartz, TS., F Jenkins and LB Beheregaray. 2005. Microsatellite DNA markers developed for the Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata) and their cross-amplification in estuary perch (Macquaria colonorum). Molecular Ecology Notes 5: 519-520.
  25. Roberts, MA, TS Schwartz and SA Karl. 2004. Global population genetic structure and male-mediated gene flow in the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas): analysis of microsatellite loci. Genetics 166: 1857-1870.
  26. Beheregaray, LB, TS Schwartz, LM Moller, D Call, NL Chao and A Caccone. 2004a. A set of microsatellite DNA markers for the one-lined pencilfish Nannostomus unifasciatus, an Amazonian flooded forest fish. Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 333-335.
  27. Beheregaray, LB, LM Moller, TS Schwartz, NL Chao and A Caccone. 2004b. Microsatellite markers for the cardinal tetra Paracheirodon axelrodi, a commercially important fish from central Amazonia. Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 330-332.
  28. Seminoff, JA, SA Karl, T Schwartz and A Resendiz. 2003. Hybridization of the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Pacific Ocean: Indication of an absence of gender bias in the directionality of crosses. Bulletin of Marine Science 73: 643-652.
  29. Schwartz, TS, M Osentoski, T Lamb and SA Karl. 2003. Microsatellite loci for the North American tortoises (genus Gopherus) and their applicability to other turtle species. Molecular Ecology Notes 3: 283-286.


I am supported by the James S. McDonnell Foundation 1st Century Science Initiative – Postodoctoral Program in Complexity Science/Complex Systems-Fellowship Award Grant number 220020353. My ongoing research is also funded by the National Science Foundation through the following grants: Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant number 1011350, National Science Foundation to Anne Bronikowski (IOS – 0922528), and the Iowa State University Center for Integrative and Comparative Genomics.

In August, 2015, Tonia completed her training with us and moved on to a position as Assistant Professor in the Auburn Department of Biology. She can be contacted at