Guy Hoelzer, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus


My primary research interest is the evolution of animal social behavior; however, my interests range from molecular evolution to sexual selection to phylogenetics. I also like to pursue both empirical and theoretical questions in my research. The organisms I have studied also comprise a diverse group, including fishes and primates. My recent work has included 1) the reconstruction of macaque phylogeny through analysis of mitochondrial DNA restriction-sites, 2) using DNA fingerprinting to assess the genetic structure of primate populations and determine paternity in wild populations, 3) phylogenetics and phylogeography of avian and fish taxa, and 4) development of new theory and methodology in phylogenetics and bioinformatics. My graduate students often combine molecular lab work with field work to better understand the evolution or ecology of a group of organisms, although I am also enthusiastic about advising students pursuing developments in evolutionary models and methodologies.


  • Postdoctoral Training - Columbia University, New York, NY, 1989-1991
  • Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1989
  • M.S., San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, 1982
  • B.A., Williams College, 1978

Selected Publications

  • Hoelzer, G. A., R. Drewes, J. Meier, and R. Doursat. 2008. Isolation-by-distance and outbreeding depression are sufficient to drive parapatric speciation in the absence of environmental influences. PLoS Computational Biology 4(7): e1000126.
  • Hoelzer, G. A., E. Smith, and J. W. Pepper. 2006. On the logical relationship between natural selection and self-organization. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 19: 1785-1794.
  • Lyons-Weiler, J., G. A. Hoelzer and R. J. Tausch. 1998. Optimal outgroup analysis. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 64: 493-511.
  • Hoelzer, G. A., J. Wallman and D. J. Melnick. 1998. The effects of social structure, geographical structure and population size on the evolution of mitochondrial DNA. II. Molecular clocks and the lineage sorting period. Journal of Molecular Evolution 47: 21-31.
  • Ellsworth, J. A., and G. A. Hoelzer. 1998. Characterization of microsatellite loci in a New World primate, the mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata). Molecular Ecology 7: 657-659.
  • Hoelzer, G. A. 1997. Inferring phylogenies from mtDNA variation: mitochondrial gene-trees versus nuclear gene-trees revisited. Evolution 51: 622-626.
  • Lyons-Weiler, J. and G. A. Hoelzer. 1997. Escaping from the Felsenstein zone prior to the inference of a phylogenetic tree. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 8: 375-384.
  • Lyons-Weiler, J., G. A. Hoelzer and R. Tausch. 1996. Relative apparent synapomorphy analysis (RASA) I: the statistical measurement of phylogenetic signal. Molecular Biology and Evolution 13: 749-757
  • Melnick, D. J., G. A. Hoelzer, R. Absher and M. V. Ashley. 1993. mtDNA diversity in rhesus monkeys reveals overestimates of divergence time and paraphyly with neighboring species. Molecular Biology and Evolution 10: 282-295.