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Richard Clark


Ph.D. Stanford University

Graduate Program Membership:

Office/Building: Biol 341
Phone: 801-585-9722, 801-585-5581

Research Statement

Genetic variation is ubiquitous in plant and animal populations. Such variation underlies diverse morphological and life history traits, susceptibility to a broad spectrum of diseases, responses to other biotic challenges, as well as variation in the face of changes in the abiotic environment. In the Clark laboratory, we seek a molecular understanding of the causes and consequences of genetic variation. A central focus of our work is to understand the genetic, molecular, and biochemical bases of interactions between plants and the herbivores that graze on them. In our current work, we are examining the basis of plant responses to herbivory by spider mites, an ecologically and agriculturally important group of arthropod herbivores for which comparatively little is known compared to insects. Independent of plant-herbivore interaction studies, we are also interested in various aspects of plant and spider mite (and more generally arthropod) biology. For spider mites, this includes understanding how mite populations and genomes have responded to recent selection imposed by human agricultural practices. Another focus of the laboratory has been to elucidate the genetic architecture of variation in spider mite diapause (a physiological state needed for overwintering), as well as the biosynthesis, metabolism, and transport of carotenoids that are important for diapause in this group of globally invasive plant pests. To address our questions, the laboratory uses molecular biology approaches, quantitative genetics, high-throughput genomic methods like genome sequencing and transcriptional profiling, and diverse bioinformatic approaches.

Research Interests

General Interests

Selected Publications

  • Kurlovs, A. H., Snoeck, S., Kosterlitz, O., Van Leeuwen, T., and Clark, R. M. 2019. Trait mapping in diverse arthropods by bulked segregant analysis. Curr Opin Insect Sci. 36:57-65. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2019.08.004.
  • Wybouw, N., Kurlovs, A. H., Greenhalgh, R., Bryon, A., Kosterlitz, O., Manabe, Y., Osakabe, M., Vontas, J., Clark, R. M., and Van Leeuwen, T. 2019. Convergent evolution of cytochrome P450s underlies independent origins of keto-carotenoid pigmentation in animals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2019 286(1907):20191039. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1039.
  • Snoeck, S., Kurlovs, A. H., Bajda, S., Feyereisen, R., Greenhalgh, R., Villacis-Perez, E., Kosterlitz, O., Dermauw, W., Clark, R. M., and Van Leeuwen, T. 2019. High-resolution QTL mapping in Tetranychus urticae reveals acaricide-specific responses and common target-site resistance after selection by different METI-I acaricides. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 110:19-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2019.04.011.
  • Wybouw, N., Kosterlitz, O., Kurlovs, A. H., Bajda, S., Greenhalgh, R., Snoeck, S., Bui, H., Bryon, A., Dermauw, W., Van Leeuwen, T., and Clark, R. M. 2019. Long-Term Population Studies Uncover the Genome Structure and Genetic Basis of Xenobiotic and Host Plant Adaptation in the Herbivore Tetranychus urticae. GENETICS 211(4):1409-1427. doi: 10.1534/genetics.118.301803.
  • Simma, E. A., Dermauw, W., Balabanidou, V., Snoeck, S., Bryon, A., Clark, R. M., Yewhalaw, D., Vontas, J., Duchateau, L., and Van Leeuwen, T. 2019. Genome-wide gene expression profiling reveals that cuticle alterations and P450 detoxification are associated with deltamethrin and DDT resistance in Anopheles arabiensis populations from Ethiopia. Pest Management Science 75(7):1808-1818. doi: 10.1002/ps.5374.
  • Bui, H., Greenhalgh, R., Ruckert, A., Gill, G. S., Lee, S., Ramirez, R. A., and Clark, R. M. 2018. Generalist and specialist mite herbivores induce similar defense responses in maize and barley but differ in susceptibility to benzoxazinoids. Frontiers in Plant Sciences 9:1222. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01222.
  • Bryon, A., Kurlovs, A. H., Dermauw, W., Greenhalgh, R., Riga, M., Grbic, M., Tirry, L., Osakabe, M., Vontas, J., Clark, R. M.**, and Van Leeuwen, T. 2017. Disruption of a horizontally transferred phytoene desaturase abolishes carotenoid accumulation and diapause in Tetranychus urticae. PNAS 114(29): E5871-E5880. (PMCID: PMC5530703)

Courses Taught

  • Biol 5140: Genome Biology