Welcome Research People Publications Galleries Courses Links/Resources Tech Guides

Bob Fitak


Contact Information:

Room 307, Biological Sciences Building
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708

personal web page


Github page

Google Scholar Profile

Instructor: Genomics of Diseases in Wildlife Workshop

Maximum Likelihood Software for Orientation Research (associated paper)


BS, Molecular Genetics, Ohio State University, 2006
PhD, Genetics, University of Arizona, 2013



Research Interests:

Applying genetics and genomics, especially next-generation sequencing, to a variety of topics in evolutionary and conservation biology.




Schweikert, L. E., Fitak, R. R., and S. Johnsen (in review). De Novo transcriptomics reveal distinct phototransduction signaling components in the retina and skin of a color-changing vertebrate, the hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus). Journal of Comparative Physiology A

Fitak RR, Caves EM, and Johnsen S. (in review) Orientation in pill bugs: an interdisciplinary activity to engage students in concepts of biology, physics, and circular statistics. American Biology Teacher.

*Arniella MB, Fitak RR , and Johnsen S. (in review). Unmapped sequencing reads identify additional candidate genes linked to magnetoreception in rainbow trout. Environmental Biology of Fishes.

Fitak RR, Schweikert LE, Wheeler BR, Ernst DA, Lohmann KJ, and Johnsen S. (in prep) Exposure to a magnetic pulse leaves gene expression unaltered in the retina of rainbow trout. Biology Letters.

Fitak RR , Rinkevich S, and Culver M. (in review). Genome-wide analyses of SNPs reveal lack of domestic dog ancestry in the endangered Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi). Molecular Ecology.

Fitak RR and Johnsen S. (in review). Geomagnetic field reversals and the biogeography of magnetically navigating species. Ecography.

Schweikert LE, Fitak RR, Johnsen S. (in prep) De novo transcriptomics reveal distinct phototransduction signaling components in the retina and skin of the color changing vertebrate, Lachnolaimus maximus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A.

Fitak RR and Johnsen S. (2017). Bringing the statistical analysis of animal orientation full circle: model-based approaches with maximum likelihood. Journal of Experimental Biology 220(21): 3878-38882. doi: 10.1242/jeb.167056

Mohandesan E, Fitak RR, Corander J, Yadamsuren A, Chuluunbat B, Abdelhadi O, Raziq A, Nagy P, Stalder G, Walzer C, Faye B, and Burger PA. (2017). Mitogenome sequencing in the genus Camelus reveals evidence for purifying selection and long-term divergence between wild and domestic Bactrian camels. Scientific Reports 7(1): 9970.

Ohkura M, Fitak RR, Wisecaver JH, DeBlasio D, Niazi F, Egholm M, Rounsley SD, Kodira CD, and Orbach MJ. (2017). Genome sequence of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, an emerging fungal pathogen of snakes. Genome Announcements 5(30): e00677-17.

Fitak RR, Wheeler BR, Ernst DA, Lohmann KJ, and Johnsen S. (2017). Candidate genes mediating magnetoreception in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Biology Letters 13(4): 20170142.

Ochoa A, Onorato DP, Fitak RR, Roelke-Parker ME, and Culver M. (2017). Evolutionary and functional mitogenomics: presence of potential deleterious SNPs in Florida panthers prior to and as a consequence of the introduction of Texas pumas. Journal of Heredity 108(4): 449-455.

*Erwin JA, Fitak RR, Dwyer JF, and Culver M. (2016) Molecular detection of bacteria in the families Rickettsiaceae and Anaplasmataceae in northern crested caracaras (Caracara cheriway). Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases 7(3): 470-474.

Plasil M, Mohandesan E, Fitak RR, Musilova P, Kubickova S, Burger PA, and Horin P. (2016) The major histocompatibility complex in Old World camelids and low polymorphism of its class II genes. BMC Genomics 17(1): 167.

Fitak, RR. (2016). Wild felid genomics: where are we now? Wild Felid Monitor 9(1): 13.

Fitak RR, Mohandesan E, Corander J, and Burger PA. (2016) The de novo genome assembly and annotation of a female domestic dromedary of North African origin. Molecular Ecology Resources 16(1): 314-324.

Fitak RR, Naidu A, Thompson R, and Culver M. (2016) A new panel of SNP markers for the individual identification of North American pumas (Puma concolor). Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 7(1): 13-27.

Bruford MW, … Fitak R, et al. (2015) Prospects and challenges for the conservation of farm animal genomic resources, 2015-2025. Frontiers in Genetics 6: 314.

Ruiz E, Mohandesan E, Fitak RR, and Burger P. (2015) Diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphism markers to identify hybridization between dromedary and Bactrian camels. Conservation Genetics Resources 7(2): 329-332.

Muzzachi S, Burger P, Fitak R, Oulmouden A, Cherifi Y, Yahyaoui H, Zayed MA, Lacalandra GM, Faye B, and Ciani E. (2015). Combined Sanger and NGS sequence analysis of the myostatin gene (mstn) in the Camelus dromedarius species. Special Issue of the Scientific and Practical Journal Veterinariya 42(2): 353-355.

Antonacci R, Fitak R, Burger P, Castelli V, Ciani E, and Ciccarese S. (2015). Functional genomics and evolution of the gamma/delta T cell receptor loci in old world camels. Special Issue of the Scientific and Practical Journal Veterinariya 42(2): 344-346.

Fitak RR, Mohandesan E, and Burger PA. (2015). Complete genome re-sequencing reveals patterns of domestication in old world camelids. Special Issue of the Scientific and Practical Journal Veterinariya 42(2): 346-348.

Fitak RR, Kelly DJ, Fuerst PA, et al. (2014) The prevalence of rickettsial and ehrlichial organisms in Amblyomma americanum ticks collected from Ohio and surrounding areas between 2000 and 2010. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases 5(6): 797-800.

Fitak RR, Koprowski JL, and Culver M (2013) Severe reduction in genetic variation in a montane isolate: the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis). Conservation Genetics 14(6): 1233-1241.

Andrew DR, Fitak RR, Munguia-Vega A, Racolta A, Martinson V, and Dontsova K. (2012) Abiotic factors shape microbial diversity in Sonoran Desert soils. Applied Environmental Microbiology 78(21): 7527.

Naidu A, Fitak RR, Munguia-Vega A, and Culver M. (2012) Novel PCR primers for complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequencing in mammals. Molecular Ecology Resources 12: 191-196.

Culver M, Fitak RR, and Herrmann H. (2010) Genetic Methods for Biodiversity Assessment. In Anne Magurran and Brian McGill (Eds.), Biological Diversity: frontiers in measurement and assessment. Oxford University Press: USA, 2011, p208-218.

Loftis AD, Mixson TR, Stromdahl EY, Yabsley MJ, Garrison LE, Williamson PC, Fitak RR, Fuerst PA, and Blount KB. (2008) Geographic distribution and genetic diversity of the Ehrlichia sp. from Panola Mountain. BMC Infectious Diseases 8:54.





Duke University | Biological Sciences Bldg, Room 301 | (919) 660-7321 | sjohnsen@duke.edu