• Title Professor of Biology; Professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • Education PhD, University of Texas at Austin
  • Web Address http://sites.bu.edu/warkentinlab/
  • Phone 617-358-2385
  • Area of Interest phenotypic plasticity; integrative and comparative biology; adaptive embryo behavior; hatching as a life history transition; substrate vibration as an information channel; herpetology; tropical biology; sex, gender and sexuality; diversity and inclusion as imperatives for scientific progress
  • CV

Current Research

Most of the research in the Warkentin lab examines developing organisms in ecological and evolutionary context. We focus on hatching as a critical life history transition, working with embryos that adaptively alter when they exit the egg capsule in response to cues of risk and opportunity. We integrate approaches from behavior, ecology, physiology, and developmental and evolutionary biology to better understand embryos, and use embryos to address general questions in animal behavior. We combine biology and mechanical engineering to design devices enabling new kinds of experiments in embryo behavior.

We work in the Neotropics on red-eyed treefrogs, hourglass treefrogs, and glassfrogs –representing three lineages of frogs that independently evolved arboreal eggs and retained aquatic tadpoles – and on foam-nesting frogs that vary in the terrestriality of their eggs. Our work addresses ecology, evolution, and mechanisms of plasticity, interactions of embryos with predators and parents, and developmental changes in embryo behavior.

Prof. Warkentin is also working toward a better understanding of sexual diversity by synthesizing perspectives from developmental and evolutionary biology.

Selected Publications

  • Delia J, Bravo-Valencia L, Warkentin KM (2020) The evolution of extended parental care in glassfrogs: Do egg-clutch phenotypes mediate coevolution between the sexes? Ecological Monographs 90: e01411. DOI: 10.1002/ecm.1411.
  • Jung J, Kim SJ, Pérez Arias SM, McDaniel JG, Warkentin KM (2019) How do red-eyed treefrog embryos sense motion in predator attacks? Assessing the role of vestibular mechanoreception. J Exp Biol 222: DOI: 10.1242/jeb.206052.
  • Warkentin KM, Jung J, Rueda Solano LA, McDaniel JG (2019) Ontogeny of escape-hatching decisions: vibrational cue use changes as predicted from costs of sampling and false alarms. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 73: 51. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-019-2663-2.
  • Cohen KL, Piacentino M, Warkentin KM (2019) Two types of hatching gland cells facilitate escape-hatching at different developmental stages in red-eyed treefrogs, Agalychnis callidryas (Anura: Phyllomedusidae). Biol J Linn Soc DOI: 10.1093/biolinnean/bly214.
  • Delia J, Rivera JM, Salazar Nicholls MJ, Warkentin KM (2019) Hatching plasticity and the adaptive benefits of extended embryonic development in glassfrogs. Evol Ecol 33: 37–53. DOI: 10.1007/s10682-018-9963-2.
  • Güell BA, Warkentin KM (2018) When and where to hatch? Red-eyed treefrog embryos use light cues in two contexts. PeerJ DOI: 10.7717/peerj.6018.
  • Warkentin KM, Cuccaro Diaz J, Güell BA, Jung J, Kim SJ, Cohen KL (2017) Developmental onset of escape-hatching responses in red-eyed treefrogs depends on cue type. Anim Behav 129: 103–112. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.05.008.
  • Delia J, Bravo-Valencia L, Warkentin KM. (2017) Patterns of parental care in Neotropical glassfrogs: fieldwork alters hypotheses of sex-role evolution. J Evol Biol: DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13059.

Courses Taught:

  • WS101 Gender and Sexuality I: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
  • BI 506 Phenotypic Plasticity
  • BI 594 Sex, Sexes, and Sexual Phenotypes
  • BI 581/582 Seminar in Biology

View all profiles