James Marden, Ph.D.

James Marden, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Biology
208 Mueller Lab
University Park, PA 16802

Research Interests

My research interests are primarily in the areas of physiological ecology, functional genomics, evolutionary ecology, and behavior.

In the most general terms, I am interested in how animals work and why they work that way. In other words, I investigate mechanistic details of animal physiology in an ecological and evolutionary context. I work primarily with insects because they are readily available, fantastically diverse, and ecologically/economically important. Work in my lab is often what is called integrative biology, as we aim to discover the relationships between molecular level phenomena, cellular and tissue physiology, whole organism function, behavior, and ecology.

Projects presently underway in my laboratory examine functional genomics of butterflies in a well studied metapopulation, and intraspecific variation in flight performance in the dragonfly Libellula pulchella. Other recent work has examined the evolution of insect flight using stoneflies as model organisms, and the genetic bases of performance variation in free-flying Drosophila melanogaster.

Relevant Publications

61) Niitepõld, K., Smith, A,D., Osborne, J.L., Reynolds, D.R., Carreck, N.L., Martin, A.P., Marden, J.H., Ovaskainen, O., Hanski, I. 2008. Flight metabolic rate and Pgi genotype influence butterfly dispersal rate in the field. Ecology, in press.

60) Bejan, A. and Marden, J.H. 2008. The constructal unification of biological and geophysical design. Physics of Life Reviews, doi:10.1016/j.plrev.2008.12.002 (journal link).

59) Marden, J.H., Fescemyer, H.W., Saastamoinen, M., MacFarland, S.P., Vera, J.C., Frilander, M.J., Hanski, I. 2008. Weight and nutrition affect pre-mRNA splicing of a muscle gene associated with performance, energetics and life history. Journal of Experimental Biology 211, 3653-60 (journal link).

58) J. C. Vera, C.W. Wheat, H.W. Fescemyer, M.J. Frilander, D.L. Crawford, I. Hanski, J.H. Marden. 2008. Rapid transcriptome characterization for a non-model organism using 454 pyrosequencing. Molecular Ecology 17, 1636-47. (pdf; supplementary material)

57) Marden, J.H. 2008. Evolution and physiology of flight in aquatic insects. In: Aquatic Insects: Challenges to Populations, ed. J. Lancaster. CABI Press. (email for reprint)

56) Marden, J.H. 2008. Dragonfly flight performance: a model system for biomechanics, physiological genetics, and animal competitive behavior. In: Dragonflies: Model Organisms for Ecological and Evolutionary Research, ed. A. Córdoba-Aguilar. Oxford University Press. (email for reprint)

55) Schilder, R.J. and Marden, J.H. 2007. Parasites, proteomics and performance: effects of gregarine gut parasites on dragonfly flight muscle composition and function. Journal of Experimental Biology 210: 4298-4306. (abstract; email for reprint)

54) Schilder, R.J. and Marden, J.H. 2007. Metabolic syndrome in insects triggered by gut microbes. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology 1(5): 794-796. (Invited commentary; email for reprint)

53) Hagner-Holler, S., Pick, C., Girgenrath,S., Marden, J.H., and Burmester, T. 2007. Diversity of stonefly hexamerins and implication for the evolution of insect storage proteins. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 37:1064-74 (full text)

52) Schilder, R.J. and J.H. Marden. 2006 Metabolic syndrome and obesity in an insect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103, 18805-18809. (abstract) (full text)

51) Marden, J.H. 2008. Quantitative and evolutionary biology of alternative splicing: how changing the mix of alternative transcripts affects phenotypic plasticity and reaction norms. Heredity 100, 111–120; published online 27 September 2006 (pdf)

50) Bejan, A. and Marden, J.H. 2006. Constructal theory of running, swimming, and flying. Chapter 13.8, pp. 805-815, in Advanced Engineering Thermodynamics, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons. amazon link

49) Bejan, A. and Marden, J.H. 2006. Constructing animal locomotion from new thermodynamics theory. American Scientist 94, 342-349. (abstract)

(This article was also published in french in Pour la Science (full text).)

48) Bejan, A. and Marden, J.H. 2006. Unifying constructal theory for scale effects in running, swimming, and flying. Journal of Experimental Biology 209, 238-248. (full text)

47) Haag, C.R., Saastamoinen, M., Marden, J.H., and Hanski, I. 2005. A candidate locus for variation in dispersal rate in a butterfly metapopulation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 272, 2449–2456. (full text)

46) Marden, J.H. 2005. Scaling of maximum net force output by motors used for locomotion. Journal of Experimental Biology 208, 1653-64. (full text)

45) Marden, J.H. and J.R. Cobb. 2004. Territorial and mating success of dragonflies that vary in muscle power output and presence of gregarine gut parasites. Animal Behaviour 68, 657–665. (full text)

44) Marden, J.H. 2004 Functional and ecological effects of isoform variation in insect flight muscle. In: Nature's Versatile Engine: Insect Flight Muscle Inside and Out, ed. J. Vigoreaux. Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, Texas (request reprint by email).

43) Schilder, R.J. and Marden J.H.2004. A hierarchical analysis of the scaling of force production by dragonfly flight motors. Journal of Experimental Biology 207, 767-776. (full text)

42) Hagner-Holler, S., A. Schoen, W. Erker, J.H. Marden, R. Rupprecht, H. Decker, and T. Burmester. 2004. A respiratory hemocyanin from an insect. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101, 871-874. full text

41) Roberts, S.P., Marden, J.H., and Feder, M.E. 2003. Dropping like flies: Environmentally-induced impairment and protection of locomotor performance in adult Drosophila melanogaster. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 76, 615-621.

40) Marden, J.H. 2003. The surface-skimming hypothesis for the evolution of insect flight. Proceedings of the 2nd International Congress of Paleoentomology. Acta Zoologica Cracoviensa 46:73-84.

39) Montooth, K.L., Marden, J.H., and A.G. Clark. 2003. Mapping determinants of variation in energy metabolism, respiration and flight in Drosophila . Genetics 165, 623-635. full text

38) Marden, J.H. and M.A. Thomas. 2003. Rowing locomotion by a stonefly that possesses the ancestral pterygote condition of co-occurring wings and abdominal gills. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 79, 341-349 ( full text ) .

37) Marden, J.H., Rogina, B, Montooth,K.L., and S. Helfand. 2003. Conditional tradeoffs between aging and organismal performance of Indy long-lived mutant flies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100, 3369-3373 ( full text )

36) Marden, J.H. and L. R . Allen. 2002. Molecules, muscles, and machines: universal performance characteristics of motors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 99, 4161-4166.( full text )

35) Marden, J.H., G.H. Fitzhugh, M. Girgenrath, M.R. Wolf, and S. Girgenrath. 2001. Alternative splicing, muscle contraction and intraspecific variation: associations between troponin T transcripts, calcium sensitivity,and the force and power output of dragonfly flight muscles during oscillatory contraction. Journal of Experimental Biology 204, 805-814. full text

34) Harrison, J.F. , S. Camazine, J.H. Marden, S.D. Kirkton, A. Rozo, and X. Yang. 2001. Mite not make it home: parasitic tracheal mites reduce the safety margin for oxygen delivery of flying honey bees. Journal of Experimental Biology 204, 805-814. ( full text ) )

33) Thomas, M.A., K.A. Walsh, M.R. Wolf, B.A. McPheron, and J.H. Marden. 2000. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of evolutionary trends in stonefly wing structure and locomotor behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 97:13178-13183 ( full text )

32) Swallow, J.G., G.S. Wilkinson , and J.H. Marden. 2000. Aerial performance of stalk-eyed flies that differ in eye span. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 170:481-487. ( full text )

31) Marden, J.H., B.C. O'Donnell, M.A. Thomas, and J.Y. Bye. 2000. Surface-skimming stoneflies and mayflies: the taxonomic and mechanical diversity of two-dimensional aerodynamic locomotion.Physiological Zoology 73, 751-764. ( abstract ) ( full text )

30) Marden, J.H. and B. Rowan. 2000. Growth, differential survival, and shifting sex ratio of free-living Libellula pulchella (Odonata: Libellulidae) dragonflies during adult maturation. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 93, 452-458. (full text)

29) Marden, J.H. 2000. Variability in the size, composition, and function of insect flight muscle. Annual Review of Physiology 62, 157-178. (pdf)

28) Marden, J.H., G.H. Fitzhugh, M.R. Wolf, K.D. Arnold, and B. Rowan. 1999. Alternative splicing, muscle calcium sensitivity, and the modulation of dragonfly flight performance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 96, 15304-15309 (cover; full text )

27) Marden, J.H., G.H. Fitzhugh, and M.R. Wolf. 1998. From molecules to mating success: Integrative biology of muscle maturation in a dragonfly. American Zoologist 38, 528-544. (abstract & cover)

26) Marden, J.H., M.R. Wolf, and K.E. Weber. 1997. Aerial performance of Drosophila melanogaster from populations selected for upwind flight ability. Journal of Experimental Biology , 200, 2747-2755. (abstract) ( full text )

25) Fitzhugh, G.H. and J.H. Marden. 1997. Maturational changes in troponinT expression, calcium sensitivity, and twitch contraction kinetics in dragonfly flight muscle. Journal of Experimental Biology , 200, 1473-1482. (abstract) ( full text )

24) Kramer, M.G. and J.H. Marden. 1996. Almost airborne. Nature 385, 403-404. Acknowledgements

23) M. P. Mesterton-Gibbons , J.H. Marden, and L. Dugatkin . On wars of attrition without assessment. Journal of Theoretical Biology , 181, 65-83. (abstract)

22) Marden, J.H., M.G. Kramer, and J. Frisch. 1996. Age-related variation in body temperature, thermoregulation, and activity in a thermally polymorphic dragonfly. Journal of Experimental Biology 199, 529-535. (abstract) ( full text )

21) Marden, J.H. and M.G. Kramer. 1995. Plecopteran surface-skimming and insect flight evolution - reply. Science 270, 1685.

20) Marden, J.H. How insects learned to fly. The Sciences 35, 26-30.

19) Marden, J.H. and M.G. Kramer. 1995. Locomotor performance of insects with rudimentary wings. Nature 377, 332-334. (pdf) (cover)

18) Marden, J.H. 1995. Large-scale changes in thermal sensitivity of flight performance during adult maturation in a dragonfly. Journal of Experimental Biology 198, 2095-2102. (abstract & cover) ( full text )

17) Marden, J.H. 1995. Evolutionary adaptation of contractile performance in muscle of ectothermic winter-flying moths. Journal of Experimental Biology 198, 2087-2094. (abstract) ( full text )

16) Marden, J.H. 1995. Flying lessons from a flightless insect. Natural History 104 (2), 4-8.

15) Marden, J.H. and M.G. Kramer. 1994. Surface-skimming stoneflies: a possible intermediate stage in insect flight evolution. Science 266, 427-430. (pdf)

14) Marden, J.H. and R.A. Rollins. 1994. Assessment of energy reserves by damselflies engaged in aerial wars of attrition for mating territories. Animal Behaviour , 48, 1023-1030. (pdf)

13) Marden, J.H. 1994. From damselflies to pterosaurs: how burst and sustainable flight performance scale with body size. American Journal of Physiology 266, R1077-R1084. (abstract)

12) Marden, J.H. 1992. Newton's second law of butterflies. Natural History, 101(1):54-61. (cover)

11) Anholt, B.R., Marden, J.H. and D.M. Jenkins. 1991. Patterns of mass gain in adult odonates. Canadian Journal of Zoology 69, 1156-1163.

10) Marden, J.H. and P. Chai. 1991. Aerial predation and butterfly design: how palatability, mimicry, and the need for evasive flight constrain mass allocation. Amer. Nat. 138:15-36. (pdf)

9) Marden, J.H. and J.K. Waage . 1990. Escalated damselfly territorial contests are energetic wars of attrition. Animal Behav. 39:954-959. (pdf)

8) Marden, J.H. 1990. Maximum load-lifting and power output by Harris' Hawks are general functions of flight muscle mass. J. Exper. Biol. 149:511-514

7) Marden, J.H. 1989. Bodybuilding dragonflies: Costs and benefits of maximizing flight muscle. Physiol. Zool. 62:505-521. (pdf)

6) Marden, J.H. 1989. Effects of load-lifting constraints on the mating system of a dance fly. Ecology 70:496-502.

5) Marden, J.H. 1987. Maximum lift production during takeoff in flying animals. J. Exper. Biol. 130:235-258. (pdf)

4) Marden, J.H. 1987. In pursuit of females: Following and contest behavior by males of a Namib desert tenebrionid beetle, Physodesmia globosa. Ethology 75, 15-24.

3. Marden, J.H. 1984. Remote perception of floral nectar by bumblebees. Oecologia 64, 232-240. (pdf)

2. Marden, J.H. 1984. Intrapopulation variation in nectar secretion in Impatiens capensis. Oecologia 63, 418-422.

1. Marden, J.H. and K.D. Waddington. 1981. Floral choices by honeybees in relation to the relative distances to flowers. Physiological Entomology 6, 431-435.