Associate Professor of Biology
PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 1998
Areas of interest: phenotypic plasticity; the integration of ecology, development, behavior, physiology, and evolution; embryos as organisms; life history switch points; substrate vibration as an information channel; herpetology; tropical biology; sex, gender and sexuality
Research in my laboratory examines developing organisms in an ecological context. We study hatching and metamorphosis as critical life history transitions, focusing on the ability of animals to facultatively alter these switch points in response to changing risks and opportunities in each life stage. Our research integrates ideas and techniques from ecology, behavior, and physiology, developmental and evolutionary biology, and mechanical engineering.
Our study organisms are amphibians and their enemies. In the neotropics we study leaf-breeding treefrogs, with arboreal eggs and aquatic tadpoles. Our focal species, the red-eyed treefrog, hatches prematurely in response to egg stage risks and shifts metamorphosis in response to predators of both tadpoles and froglets. Our work addresses mechanisms of plasticity, its evolution, and the consequences of different plastic ‘choices’ in different environments. In New England, we study vernal pool amphibians, focusing on pathogen-induced early hatching and its consequences.
- BI 506 Phenotypic Plasticity
- CC 106 Biodiversity
- WS 101 Gender and Sexuality: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
- Warkentin KM. (2011). Environmentally cued hatching across taxa: Embryos respond to risk and opportunity. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51, 14-25.
- Warkentin KM. (2011). Plasticity of hatching in amphibians: Evolution, trade-offs, cues and mechanisms. Integrative and Comparative Biology 51, 111-127.
- Caldwell MS, Johnston GR, McDaniel JG, Warkentin KM. (2010). Vibrational signaling in the agonistic interactions of red-eyed treefrogs. Current Biology 20, 1012-1017.
- Touchon JC, Warkentin KM. (2008). Reproductive mode plasticity: aquatic and terrestrial oviposition in a treefrog. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 105: 7495-7499.
- Gomez-Mestre I, Wiens JJ, Warkentin KM (2008). Evolution of adaptive plasticity: risk-sensitive hatching in neotropical leaf-breeding treefrogs (Agalychnis: Hylidae). Ecological Monographs 21: 791-800.
- Warkentin KM. (2007). Oxygen, gills, and embryo behavior: mechanisms of adaptive plasticity in hatching. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 148, 720-731.
- Warkentin KM. (2005). How do embryos assess risk? Vibrational cues in predator-induced hatching of red-eyed treefrogs. Animal Behaviour 70, 59-71.
- Warkentin KM. (1995). Adaptive plasticity in hatching age: A response to predation risk trade-offs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 92, 3507-3510.