• 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

  • Güell BA, Jung J, Almanzar A, Cuccaro-Díaz J, Warkentin KM (2022) Ontogeny of risk assessment and escape-hatching performance by red-eyed treefrog embryos in two threat contexts. Journal of Experimental Biology 225: jeb244533. DOI:10.1242/jeb.244533
  • Guevara-Molina EC, Ribeiro Gomes F, Warkentin KM (2022) Heat-induced hatching of red-eyed treefrog embryos: Hydration and clutch structure increase behavioral thermal tolerance. Integrative Organismal Biology 4: obac041, DOI: 10.1093/iob/obac041
  • Warkentin KM, Jung J, McDaniel JG (2022) Research approaches in mechanosensory-cued hatching. In Biotremology: Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution. Animal Signals and Communication (eds) Hill PSM, Mazzoni V, Stritih Peljhan N, Virant-Doberlet M, Wessel A. Springer. p. 157–201. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-97419-0_7
  • Méndez-Narváez J, Warkentin KM (2022) Reproductive colonization of land by frogs: Embryos and larvae excrete urea to avoid ammonia toxicity. Ecology and Evolution 12: e8570 DOI: 10.1002/ece3.8570
  • Jung J, McDaniel JG, Warkentin KM (2021) Escape-hatching decisions show adaptive ontogenetic changes in how embryos manage ambiguity in predation risk cues. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 75: 141. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-021-03070-9
  • Warkentin KM (2021) Queering herpetology: On human perspectives and the study of diverse animals. In Herpetologia Brasileira Contemporânea (ed) Toledo LF. Sociedade Brasileira de Herpetologia, São Paulo. p. 42–58
  • Jung J, Serrano-Rojas SJ, Warkentin KM (2020) Multimodal mechanosensing enables treefrog embryos to escape egg predators. Journal of Experimental Biology 223: jeb236141 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.236141.
  • 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.

Courses Taught:

  • WS101: Gender and Sexuality I: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
  • BI 506: Phenotypic Plasticity
  • BI 507: Diversity of Sex
  • BI 581/582: Seminar in Biology

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