Participating Faculty
Erica Crespi
Name:Erica Crespi
Department:School of Biological Sciences
Credentials:2001- Ph.D.-University of Virginia-Biology
Office:Eastlick 385A
Mailing Address:

School of Biological Sciences
PO Box 644236
Pullman, WA 99164-4236
Web Site:Click here

Research Interests

Nutrition, stress and early development, fetal programming

Research Summary

My research seeks to understand how environmental stress and nutrition during early development affects morphogenesis, metabolism, growth, and behavior in vertebrates. I focus on examining the actions of the neuroendocrine stress axis and energy balance hormones throughout development, and how these endocrine systems alter early developmental processes in response to environmental cues. I am also interested in how these endocrine systems program later life behavior, physiology, growth, and reproduction through their organizing effects during early development. I primarily use amphibian model systems to study environmental and maternal effects on developmental plasticity, but I also investigate similar questions in birds, fish, and mammals. I combine molecular, cellular, behavioral, and ecological approaches to understand these complex and interrelated responses and their fitness consequences. My multidisciplinary research program allows students to work on projects in the laboratory, in the field, or both.

Research Publications

Londraville, R. L., et al. (2014). "Comparative endocrinology of leptin: Assessing function in a phylogenetic context." Gen Comp Endocrinol 203C: 146-157.

Crespi, E. J. and R. W. Warne (2013). "Environmental conditions experienced during the tadpole stage alter post-metamorphic glucocorticoid response to stress in an amphibian." Integr Comp Biol 53(6): 989-1001.

Solomon-Lane, T. K., et al. (2013). "Stress and serial adult metamorphosis: multiple roles for the stress axis in socially regulated sex change." Front Neurosci 7: 210.

Warne. R.W., Crespi, E.J., Brunner, J.L. (2011). The stress of infection in wood frog tadpoles: characterization of corticosterone, growth, and developmental responses to ranavirus exposure. ­Func. Ecol. 25:139-146.

Ledon-Rettig, C. C., Pfennig, D.W., Crespi, E.J. (2010). Diet and hormonal manipulation reveal cryptic genetic variation: implications for the evolution of novel feeding strategies." Proc Biol Sci 277: 3569-3578.

Ledon-Rettig, C. C., Pfennig, D.W., and Crespi E.J. (2009). Stress hormones and the fitness consequences associated with the transition to a novel diet in larval amphibians." J Exp Biol 212: 3743-3750.

Hu, F., Crespi, E.J., Denver, R.J. (2008). Programming neuroendocrine stress axis activity by exposure to glucocorticoids during postembryonic development of the frog, Xenopus laevis." Endocrinology 149: 5470-5481.

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. Proc Nat Acad Sci. USA 103:10092-10097.

Crespi, E.J., Steckler, T.L., et al. (2006). Prenatal exposure to excess testosterone modifies the developmental trajectory of the IGF system in female sheep. J Physiol 572:119-130.

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

Crespi, E.J., and Denver, R.J. (2005). Roles of stress hormones in food intake regulation in anuran amphibians throughout the life cycle.  Comp Biochem Physiol A 141:381-390.

Crespi, E.J., and Denver, R.J. (2005). Ancient origins of developmental plasticity in humans. Am J Hum Biol 17:44-54.

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.

Washington State University