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Zamudio, Kelly

Kelly R Zamudio

Department of Integrative Biology

Population biology, population genetics, systematics, disease ecology and evolution, and the genetics of conservation.


Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Kelly R. Zamudio is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin and an Endowed Fellow of the Doherty Regents Chair in Molecular Biology.  She received her B.A. from UC. Berkeley in Zoology in 1991, her Ph.D. from University of Washington, Seattle, in 1996, and was an NSF post-doctoral fellow at the Museum of Vertebrate Biology at UC Berkeley from 1997-1999. She worked at Cornell from 1999-2021 where she received tenure and became a Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on the origin and maintenance of vertebrate biodiversity (especially reptiles and amphibians). Her lab integrates field research in population biology, demography, and habitat change with lab research on the genomic underpinnings of population diversification, speciation, and conservation genetics.

My research interests lie in the fields of population biology, population genetics, systematics, and the genetics of conservation. I am particularly interested in the links between patterns of geographic genetic differentiation and attributes of the ecology and life history of organisms such as mating systems, dispersal, and demography. In my research I combine field and laboratory (molecular) approaches to answer questions about organisms, their environments, and their histories.

My research can be divided into three broad areas of investigation: (1) studies of mating systems and sexual selection; (2) evolutionary genetics of reptiles and amphibians at the level of populations, lineages or species;and (3) application of my basic research to conservation, with emphasis on the study of population genetic consequences of anthropogenic landscape change and emergent infectious disease.

Selected Publications [last 5 years]


Odom, S., H. Boso, S. Bowling, S. Cotner, C. Creech, A. G. Drake, S. Eddy, S. Fagbodun, S. Hebert, A. James, J. Just, J. R. St. Juliana, M. Shuster, S. Thompson, R. Whittington, B. Wills, A. Wilson, K. R. Zamudio, M. Zhong, C. J. Ballen. 2021. Meta-analysis of gender performance gaps in undergraduate natural science courses. CBE – Life Sciences Education 20: ar40.

Leaché, A. D., H. R. Davis, S. Singhal, M. K. Fujita, M. Lahti, K. R. Zamudio. 2021. Phylogenomic assessment of biodiversity using a reference-based taxonomy: an example with horned lizards (Phrynosoma). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9: 678110.

Lopes, C. M., D. Baêta, A. Valentini, M. L. Lyra, A. F. Sabbag, J. L. Gasparini, T. Dejean, C. F. B. Haddad, K. R. Zamudio. 2021. Lost and found: frogs in a biodiversity hotspot rediscovered with environmental DNA. Molecular Ecology 30: 3289-3298.

Lambertini, C., C. G. Becker, A. Belasen, A. Valencia-Aguilar, C. H. L. N. de Almeida, C. M. Betancourt-Roman, D. Rodriguez, D. da Silva Leite, I. S. Oliveira, J. L. R. Gasparini, J. Ruggeri, T. Mott, T. S. Jenkinson, T. Y. James, K. R. Zamudio, L. F. Toledo. 2021. Biotic and abiotic determinants of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infections in amphibians of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Fungal Ecology 49: 100995.

Shah, A. A., H. A. Woods, J. C. Havird. A. C. Encalada, A. S. Flecker, W. C. Funk, J. M. Guayasamin, B. C. Kondratieff, N. L. Poff, S. A. Thomas, K. R. Zamudio, C. K. Ghalambor. 2021. Temperature-dependence of metabolic rate in tropical and temperate aquatic insects: support for the Climate Variability Hypothesis in mayflies but not stoneflies. Global Change Biology 27: 297-311.


McDonald, C.A., A. V. Longo, K. R. Lips, K. R. Zamudio. 2020. Incapacitating effects of fungal coinfection in a novel pathogen system. Molecular Ecology 29: 3167-3395.

De Sá, F. P., R. C. Consolmagno, P. Muralhidar, C. A. Brasileiro, K. R. Zamudio, C. F. B. Haddad. 2020. Unexpected reproductive fidelity in a polygynous frog. Science Advances 6: eaay1539.

Valencia-Aguilar, A., K. R. Zamudio, C. F. B. Haddad, S. M. Bogdanowicz, C. P. A. Prado. 2020. Show me you care: female choice based on male egg attendance rather than male traits in glassfrogs. Behavioral Ecology 31: 1054-1064.

Mason, N. A., N. K. Fletcher, B. Gill, W. C. Funk, K. R. Zamudio. 2020. Coalescent species delimitation is sensitive to geographic sampling and isolation by distance. Systematics and Biodiversity 18: 269-280.

Condez, T. H., C. F. B. Haddad, K. R. Zamudio. 2020. Historical biogeography and multi-trait evolution in miniature toadlets of the genus Brachycephalus. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 129: 664-686.

De Sá, F. P., C. F. B. Haddad, M. M. Gray, V. K. Verdade, M. T. C. Thomé, M. T. Rodrigues, K. R. Zamudio. 2020. Male-male competition and the repeated evolution of terrestrial breeding in Atlantic Coastal Forest frogs. Evolution 74: 459-475.

Ellison, A., K. R. Zamudio, K. Lips, C. Muletz-Wolz. 2020. Temperature-mediated shifts in salamander transcriptomic responses to the amphibian-killing fungus. Molecular Ecology 29: 325-343.


Yuan, M. L., K. N. White, T. D. Tuberville, K. R. Zamudio, B. B. Rothermel. 2019. Close kin mating, but not inbred parents, reduce hatching rates and offspring quality in a threatened tortoise. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32: 1152-1162.

Riddell, E.A., E.Y. Roback, C. E. Wells, K. R. Zamudio, and M. W. Sears. 2019. Thermal cues drive plasticity in resistance to desiccation in a montane salamander with implications for responses to climate change. Nature Communications 10: 4091.

Scheele, B. C., F. Pasmans, L. Berger, A. Martel, L. F. Skerratt, W. Beukema, P. A. Burrowes, A. Catenazzi, M. Fisher, V. Flechas, C. N. Foster, P. Frías-Álvarez, T. Garner, B. Gratwicke, J. M. Guayasamin, M. Hirschfeld, T. Kosch, J. Kolby, D. B. Lindenmayer, R. Maneyro, E. La Marca, J. Mendelson, G. Parra-Olea, I. De la Riva, M.-O. Rödel, C. Soto, F. Toledo, J. Voyles, S. Whitfield, K. R. Zamudio, S. Canessa. 2019. Amphibian fungal panzootic causes catastrophic and ongoing loss of biodiversity. Science 363: 1459-1463.

Mittan, C. and K. R. Zamudio. 2019. Rapid adaptation to cold in the invasive cane toad Rhinella marina. Conservation Physiology 7: coy075 (https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coy075).

Muletz-Wolz, C. R., S. E. Barnett, G. V. DiRenzo, K. R. Zamudio, L. F. Toledo, T. Y. James, K. R. Lips. 2019. Diverse genotypes of the amphibian killing fungus produce distinct phenotypes through plastic responses to temperature. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32: 287-298.


DiRenzo, G. V., E. Zipkin, E. H. C. Grant, J. A. Royle, A. V. Longo, K. R. Zamudio, K. R. Lips. 2018. Eco-evolutionary rescue promotes host-pathogen coexistence. Ecological Applications 28: 1948-1962.

Jenkinson, T. S., Rodriguez, D., Clemons, R. A., Michelotti, L. A., Zamudio, K. R., Toledo, L. F., Longcore, J. E., James, T. Y. 2018. Globally invasive genotypes of the amphibian chytrid outcompete an enzootic lineage in coinfections. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 20181894.

Polato, N. R., B.A. Gill, A.A. Shah, M.M. Gray, K. L. Casner, A. Barthelet, P.W. Messer, M. Simmons, J.M. Guayasamin, A.C. Encalada, B.C. Kondratieff, A.S. Flecker, S.A. Thomas, C.K. Ghalambor, N.L. Poff, W.C. Funk, K. R. Zamudio. 2018. Narrow thermal tolerance and low dispersal drive higher speciation in tropical mountains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 115: 12471-12476.

Schmitt, C. J., J. A. Cook, K. R. Zamudio, S. V. Edwards. 2018. Museum specimens of terrestrial vertebrates are sensitive indicators of environmental change in the Anthropocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 374: 20170387.

White, K. N., B. B. Rothermel, K. R. Zamudio, T. D. Tuberville. 2018. Male body size predicts reproductive success but not within-clutch paternity patterns in gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). Journal of Heredity 109: 791-801.

O'Hanlon, S.J., A. Rieux, R.A. Farrer, G.M. Rosa, B. Waldman, A. Bataille, T. A. Kosch, K. Murray, B. Brankovics, M. Fumagalli, M. D. Martin, N. Wales, M. Alvarado-Rybak, K. A. Bates, L. Berger, S. Böll, L. Brookes, F. Clare, E. A. Courtois, A. A. Cunningham, T. M. Doherty-Bone, P. Ghosh, D. J. Gower, W. E. Hintz, J. Höglund, T. S. Jenkinson, C.-F. Lin, A. Laurila, A. Loyau, A. Martel, S. Meurling, C. Miaud, P. Minting, F. Pasmans, D. Schmeller, B. R. Schmidt, J. M. G. Shelton, L. F. Skerratt, F. Smith, C. Soto-Azat, M. Spagnoletti, G. Tessa, L. F. Toledo, A. Valenzuela-Sánchez, R. Verster, J. Vörös, R. J. Webb, C. Wierzbicki, E. Wombwell, K. R. Zamudio, D. M. Aanensen, T. Y. James, M. T. P. Gilbert, C. Weldon, J. Bosch, F. Balloux, T. W. J. Garner, M. C. Fisher. 2018. Recent Asian origin of chytrid fungi causing global amphibian declines. Science 360: 621-627.

Poff, N.L., E. I. Larson, P. Salerno, S. G. Morton, B. C. Kondratieff, A. S. Flecker, K. R. Zamudio, W. C. Funk. 2018. Extreme streams: Population persistence and evolutionary change in montane stream insect populations across a flooding gradient. Ecology Letters 21: 525-535.


Ballen, C. J., C. Wieman, S. Salehi, J. B. Searle, K. R. Zamudio. 2017. Enhancing diversity in undergraduate science: Self-efficacy drives performance gains with active learning. CBE Life Sciences Education 16: ar56 doi:10.1187/cbe.16-12-0344.

Shah, A., B. A. Gill, A. C. Encalada, A. S. Flecker, W. C. Funk, J. M. Guayasamin, B. C. Kondratieff, N. L. Poff, S. A. Thomas, K. R. Zamudio, C. Ghalambor. 2017. Climate variability predicts thermal limits of aquatic insects across elevation and latitude. Functional Ecology 31: 2118-2127.

Bell, R. C., J. L. Parra, G Badjedjea, M. Barej, D. Blackburn, M. Burger, A. Channing, J. M. Dehling, E. Greenbaum, V. Gvoždík, J. Kielgast, C. Kusumba, S. Lötters, P. J. McLaughlin, Z. T. Nagy, M-O Rödel, D. M. Portik, , J. VanDerWal, B. L. Stuart, K. R. Zamudio. 2017. Idiosyncratic responses to climate-driven forest fragmentation and marine incursions in reed frogs from Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea Islands. Molecular Ecology 26: 5223-5244.

Becker, C. G., A. V. Longo, C. F. B. Haddad, and K. R. Zamudio. 2017. Land cover and forest connectivity alter the interactions among host, pathogen, and skin microbiome. Proc Roy Soc B 284: 20170582.

Polato, N. R., M. M. Gray, B. A. Gill, K. L. Anderson, C. G. Becker, A. S. Flecker, B. C. Kondratieff, A. C. Encalada, N. L. Poff, W. C. Funk, K. R. Zamudio. 2017. Genetic diversity and gene flow decline with elevation in montane mayflies. Heredity 119: 107-116.

Ellison, A., G. DiRenzo, C. McDonald, K. R. Lips, K. R. Zamudio. 2017. First in vivo Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis transcriptomes reveal mechanisms of host exploitation, host-specific gene expression, and expressed genotype shifts. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 7: 269-278.

Longo, A. V. and K. R. Zamudio. 2017. Environmental fluctuations and host skin bacteria shift survival advantage between frogs and their fungal pathogen. ISME 11: 349-361.

Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, October 2019.

Cornell Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion Change Agent Award, May 2019.

Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow Award, Cornell University, 2018-2023.