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Crespi Lab Research

shapeimage_2I am interested in understanding the physiological and ecological mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity, as well as the fitness consequences of these observed plastic responses. My research focuses on how the neuroendocrine stress axis interacts with other physiological systems to mediate developmental, behavioral, and physiological responses to environmental conditions in vertebrates. I am also interested in understanding how environmental conditions experienced during early development can alter behavior, growth, reproduction, and overall fitness during later life stages.

To address these questions, I primarily study amphibians, but I have also worked with mammals, birds, and fish. My broad training gives me the unique ability to integrate molecular, developmental, physiological, behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary perspectives in my research program, and I have successfully published my work in quality journals that span these fields. Scroll below to see publications in the following areas of research:

  • Conservation physiology
  • Fetal/larval programming
  • Stress and endocrine regulation of life history transitions
  • Stress, disease, and development
  • Development of endocrine regulation of food intake
  • Amphibian population genetics/taxonomy
  • Science Education

Publications by topic: * Graduate co-author, ° Undergraduate co-author

Conservation physiology/behavior

*Seaborn, T.J., Goldberg, C.S., Crespi, E.J. in press. Integration of dispersal data into distribution modeling: What have we done and what have we learned? Frontiers in Biogeography. Available

*Hall, E.M., Brady, S.P., °Diamond M., *Mattheus, N., Earley, R.L., Crespi, E.J. 2017. Costs of roadside living: Physiological consequences of exposure to high-salinity roadside ponds on wood frog larvae and adults. Biological Conservation 209:98-106.

Madliger, C.L., Cooke, S.J., Crespi, E.J., Funk, J.L., Hultine, K.R., Hunt, K.E., Rohr, J.R., Sinclair, B.J., Suski, C.D., Willis, C.K.R., Love, O.P. 2016. Success stories and emerging themes in conservation physiology.  Conservation Physiology 4:cov057

Warne, R.W., Proudfoot, G.A., Crespi, E.J. 2015. Biomarkers of animal health: integrating nutritional ecology, endocrine ecophysiology, ecoimmunology and geospatial ecology. Ecology and Evolution. 5:557-566.


Fetal/larval programming

Warne, R.W., Crespi. E.J. 2015. Larval growth rate and sex determine resource allocation and stress responsiveness across life stages in juvenile frogs. J. Experimental Zoology Part A. 323:191-201.

Crespi, E.J., Warne, R.W. 2013. Environmental conditions experienced during the tadpole stage alter post-metamorphic glucocorticoid response to stress in an amphibian. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53:989-1001.

Hu, F., Crespi, E.J., and Denver, R.J. 2008. Programming neuroendocrine stress axis activity by exposure to glucocorticoids during postembryonic development of the frog Xenopus laevis. Endocrinology. 149:5470-81.

Crespi, E.J., Steckler, T.L., Mohankumar, P., Padmanabhan, V. 2006. Prenatal exposure to excess testosterone modifies the developmental trajectory of the IGF system in female sheep. Journal of Physiology 572:119-130.

Crespi, E.J., and Denver, R.J. 2005. Ancient origins of developmental plasticity in humans. American Journal of Human Biology. 17:44-54. [cover article]

Manikkam, M., Crespi, E.J., Doop, D., Herkimer, C., Lee, J.S., Yu, S., Brown, M.B., Foster, D.L., and Padmanabhan, V. 2004. Fetal programming: prenatal testosterone excess leads to fetal growth retardation and postnatal catch-up growth in sheep. Endocrinology 145:790-798.

Crespi, E.J., and °Lessig, H. 2004. Mothers influence offspring body size through post-ovipositional maternal effects in the redbacked salamander, Plethodon cinereus. Oecologia 138: 306–311.


Stress and endocrine regulation of life history transitions

Romero, L.M., Platts, S.H., Schoech S.J., Wada, H., Crespi, E.J., Martin, L.B., Buck, C.L. 2015. Understanding stress in the healthy animal – Potential paths for progress. Stress. 18:491-497.

°Solomon-Lane, T.K., Crespi, E.J., Grober, M.S. 2013. Stress and serial adult metamorphosis: multiple roles for the stress axis in socially regulated sex change. Frontiers in Neuroscience 7:210.

Crespi, E.J., Williams, T.D., Jessop, T.S., Delehanty, B. 2013. Life history and the ecology of stress: How do glucocorticoid hormones influence life-history variation in animals? Functional Ecology 27:93–106.

Warne, R.W., °Kardon, A., Crespi, E.J. 2013. Physiological, behavioral and maternal factors that contribute to size variation in larval amphibian populations. PLoS One. 8:e76364.

Crespi, E.J. 2012. A mechanistic understanding of aging revealed by studying the young. Molecular Ecology. 21:1307–1310.

Denver, R.J., and Crespi, E.J. 2006. Stress hormones and human developmental plasticity: lessons from tadpoles. Neoreviews 7:183-188T.

Safi R., Vlaeminck-Guillem V., Duffraisse M., Seugnet I., Plateroti M., Margotat A., Duterque-Coquillaud M., Crespi E.J., Denver R.J., Demeneix B., Laudet V. 2006. Pedomorphosis revisited: thyroid hormone receptors are functional in Necturus maculosus. Evolution and Development. 8:284-92.


Stress, disease and development

*Kirschman, L.J., Crespi, E.J., Warne, R.W. 2018. Critical disease windows shaped by stress exposure alter allocation trade-offs between development and immunity. J. Animal Ecol. 87:235-246.

*Hall, E.M., Crespi, E.J., Goldberg, C.S., Brunner, J.L. 2016. Evaluating environmental DNA-based quantification of ranavirus infection in amphibian populations. Molecular Ecology Resources 16:423-433.

Crespi, E.J., Rissler, L.J., *Mattheus, N., *Engbrecht, K., *Duncan, S., *Seaborn, T., *Hall, E.M., Peterson, J.D., Brunner, J.L. 2015. Geophysiology of wood frogs: Landscape patterns of prevalence of disease and circulating hormone concentrations across the eastern range. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 55:602-617.

*Reeve, B.C., Crespi, E.J., Whipps, C.M., Brunner, J.L. 2013. Natural stressors and ranavirus-susceptibility in wood frog tadpoles. EcoHealth 10: 90-200.

Warne, R.W., Crespi, E.J., Brunner, J.L. 2011. Escape from the pond: stress and developmental responses to ranavirus infection in wood frog tadpoles. Functional Ecology. 25:139-146.


Development of endocrine regulation of food intake

Londraville, L.R., Macotela, Y., Duff, R.J., *Easterling, M.R., Liu, Q., Crespi, E.J. 2014. Comparative endocrinology of leptin: Assessing function in a phylogenetic context. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 203:146-57.

Crespi, E.J., *Unkefer, M.K. 2014. Development of food intake controls: Neuroendocrine and environmental regulation of food intake during early life. Hormones and Behavior. 66:74-85.

Rossi, M., Caruso, F., Crespi, E.J., Pedersen, J.Z., Nakano, G., Duong, M., °McKee, C., Lee, S., Jiwrajka, M., °Caldwell, C., Baffour, F., Karlin, D.A., Lidoff, G., Leone, S., Balducci, V., Miler, J., Incerpi, S. 2013. Probing antioxidant activity of 2′-hydroxychalcones: crystal and molecular structures, in vitro anti-proliferative studies and in vivo effects on glucose regulation. Biochimie. 95:1954-63.

Crespi, E.J., Denver, R.J. 2012. Developmental reversal in neuropeptide Y action on feeding in an amphibian. General and Comparative Endocrinology. 177:348-352.

*Ledon-Rettig, C.C., D. Pfennig, and Crespi, E.J. 2010. Diet and hormonal manipulation reveal cryptic genetic variation: implications for the evolution of novel feeding strategies. Proceedings of the Royal Society London Biological Sciences. 277:3569-3578.

*Ledon-Rettig, C.C., D. Pfennig, and Crespi, E.J. 2009. Stress hormones and fitness consequences associated with the transition to a novel diet in larval amphibians. Journal of Experimental Biology. 212:3743-3750.

Crespi, E.J. and Denver R.J. 2006. Molecular cloning and functional analysis of leptin (obese gene) of the South African clawed frog Xenopus laevis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. USA 103:10092-10097.

Crespi, E.J., and Denver, R.J. 2005. Roles of stress hormones in food intake regulation in anuran amphibians throughout the life cycle. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 141:381-390.

Boorse, G.C., Crespi, E.J., Dautzenberg, F.M. and Denver, R.J. 2005. Urocortins from the South African clawed frog Xenopus laevis: Conservation of structure and function in tetrapod evolution. Endocrinology 146:4851-4860.

Crespi, E.J., Vaudry, H., Denver, R.J. 2004. The role of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), neuropeptide Y (NPY) and corticosterone in the regulation of food intake in the frog, Xenopus laevis. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 16:279-288.

Crespi E.J., and Denver, R.J. 2004. Ontogeny of corticotropin-releasing hormone effects on locomotion and foraging in the Western spadefoot toad, Spea hammondii. Hormones and Behavior 46:399-410.


Amphibian population genetics/taxonomy

*Duncan, S., *Mattheus, N., Crespi, E.J., Rissler, L.J. 2015. History matters more when explaining genetic diversity within the context of the core-periphery hypothesis. Molecular Ecology. 24:4323-4236.

Crespi, E.J., R.A. Browne, L.J. Rissler. 2010. Taxonomic revision of Desmognathus wrighti (Caudata: Plethodontidae). Herpetologica 66:283-295.

Crespi, E.J., Rissler, L.J., and Browne, R.A. 2003. Testing Pleistocene refugia theory: Historical biogeography of a high-elevation salamander, Desmognathus wrighti, in the southern Appalachians. Molecular Ecology 12:969-984.


Science education

Banta, L., Crespi E.J., Manduca, C., Nehm, R., Schwarz, J., and Singer, S. et al. 2012. Integrating genomics research throughout the undergraduate curriculum: A collection of inquiry-based genomics lab modules. CBE Life Sciences Education 11:203-208.

Click here to go to the Science Education Resource Center’s Genomics Integrated Inquiry-based Instructional Units Website