Maria Orive

Maria Orive
  • Associate Dean, Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Contact Info

Strong Hall, Room 200


Maria E. Orive is a professor of evolutionary theory in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Associate Dean for Natural Sciences & Mathematics at the University of Kansas. Her research develops mathematical models that provide a conceptual framework for exploring important questions in evolutionary biology. She has focused on the role of reproductive strategy (e.g. asexual and clonal forms of reproduction, and sexual reproduction) in shaping the genetic diversity available for evolution to act on, and the relative strength of those evolutionary forces. Her work extends key concepts of population genetics and evolutionary theory, originally established for organisms with relatively simple life histories, to the types of complex life histories seen in many ecologically important organisms, such as reef-building corals and key plant species that include perennial grasses in prairies and savannahs. 

Dr. Orive teaches introductory genetics and biostatistics, as well as graduate courses in population genetics, sexual and asexual reproduction, and coalescent theory. She previously served as Associate Chair of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) Advisory Board and was elected President of the American Genetic Association (publishers of Journal of Heredity). Other past positions include acting as Associate Editor for The American Naturalist, as the Faculty Ombuds for the University of Kansas, and as Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She serves currently on the Advisory Committee for the KU Center for Genomics, is an Associate Editor for the journal Evolution, and is an elected council member for the Society for the Study of Evolution. Her research has been funded by NSF and by the National Institutes of Health.

Contact Dean for the following College units:



Computational Biology

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Environmental Studies


Geography & Atmospheric Science


Molecular Biosciences

Physics & Astronomy



Undergraduate Biology Program

College-wide Responsibilities


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