S2E6 Karen Warkentin on Treefrogs, Phenotypic Plasticity, and Linking Gender & Sexuality Studies with Biology
Play • 37 min

In this episode, Amy speaks with guest Karen Warkentin, a Professor of Biology and a Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Boston University.

They open by discussing the adaptive value of phenotypic plasticity, particularly at critical moments in complex life cycles. Then, they dig into the mechanisms underlying environmentally-cued hatching in red-eyed treefrogs (Agalychnis callidryas), and they talk about experimental approaches Karen has used to test hypotheses within this system. After the break, they discuss Karen’s dual appointments in both Biology and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at BU, including the value and necessity of integrating these fields. 

This week's Two-Minute Takeaway comes from Juleyska Vazquez-Cardona (@JuleyskaV), a graduate student in The Birdsong Lab at the University of Lethbridge. Her work explores vocal communication in Adelaide's warblers (Setophaga adelaidae), a tropical songbird.

Papers relevant to today's show:

1. Karen & collaborators (2017) compare escape-hatching onset in Red-eyed treefrog embryos in response to hypoxia and mechanosensory cues. Developmental onset of escape-hatching responses in red-eyed treefrogs depends on cue type Animal Behaviour

2. Karen’s former PhD student Dr. Julie Jung leads this paper (2022) parsing the vibration properties that embryos use to discern predation risk. Frog embryos use multiple levels of temporal pattern in risk assessment for vibration-cued escape hatching Animal Cognition


The Animal Behavior Podcast is created by a team of animal behavior researchers and audio professionals. Come meet us here! We receive production support from the Cornell Broadcast studio directed by Bert Odom-Reed, and financial support from the Animal Behavior Society.

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