Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Erica Crespi

Erica Crespi

Field of Study: Ecological developmental biology
Title: Associate Professor
Degrees: Ph.D. University of Virgina, M.S. Wake Forest University
Homepage: Homepage/Lab Web Site Link
Google Scholar:  Google Scholar
Office: Eastlick 381
Phone: 509-335-3833
Mailing Address: School of Biological Sciences
Washington State University
PO Box 644236
Pullman,WA 99164-4236


My research seeks to understand how environmental stressors and nutrition affect early developmental processes in vertebrates. I focus on examining the ways in which the neuroendocrine stress axis and energy balance factors interact to regulate growth, morphogenesis, and immune function during early life stages. 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 other vertebrates. I combine molecular, cellular, endocrine and behavioral approaches to understand these complex and interrelated responses in ecological and evolutionary contexts. I strive to apply our understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying short- and long-term stress responses to adverse environmental conditions to landscape-level processes relevant to questions in conservation biology. My multidisciplinary research program allows students to work on projects in the laboratory, in the field, or both.

Representative Publications:

  • Tornabene, B. Hossack, B., Crespi, E.J., Breuner, C. (2021) Evaluating Corticosterone as a Biomarker for Amphibians Exposed to Increased Salinity and Ambient Corticosterone. Conservation Physiology. 9: coab049.
  • Curtis, G., Nogueiro, S., Schneider, S., Bernhofer, M., McDermott, M., Nixon, E., Perez, K.N., Reeve, R., Easterling, M.R., Crespi, E.J. (2021) Trans-ovo permethrin exposure affects growth, brain morphology and cardiac development in quail. Environmental Toxicology.
  • Barbosa-Leiker, C., Lederhos Smith, C., Crespi, E.J., Brooks, O., Burduli, E., Ranjoa, S., Carty, C.L., Herbert, L., Waters, S., Gartstein, M. (2021) Stress, coping, and resources needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 21:171. doi: 10.1186/s12884-021-03665-0.
  • Le Sage, E.H., Duncan, S.I., Seaborn, T., Cundif,f J., Rissler, L.J., Crespi, E.J. (2021) Ecological adaptation drives wood frog population divergence in life history traits. Heredity.
  • Seaborn, T.J., Goldberg, C.S., Crespi, E.J. (2021) Drivers of distributions and niches of North American cold-adapted amphibians: evaluating both climate and land use. Ecological Applications. 31: e2236
  • Seaborn, T.J., Goldberg, C.S., Crespi, E.J. (2020) Integration of dispersal data into distribution modeling: What have we done and what have we learned? Frontiers in Biogeography. 12.4: e43130.
  • Hall, E.M., Brunner, J.L., Hutzenbiler, B., Crespi, E.J. (2020) Road salt runoff increases risk of ranavirus-induced die-offs in wood frog populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 287: 20200062. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.0062
  • Easterling, M.R., Engbrecht, K., Crespi, E.J. (2019) Endocrine regulation of epimorphic regeneration. Endocrinology. 160:2969–2980. doi: 10.1210/en.2019-00321
  • Easterling, M.R., Engbrecht, K., Crespi, E.J. (2019) Endocrine regulation of regeneration: Linking global signals to local processes. General and Comparative Endocrinology 283:113220. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2019.113220
  • Hayward, T., Young, A., Jiang, A., Crespi, E.J., Coffin, A. (2019) Glucococorticoid receptor activation exacerbates aminoglycoside-induced damage to the zebrafish lateral line. Hearing Research. 377:12-23. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2019.03.002
  • Londraville, R.L., 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 doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.02.002.
  • Crespi, E.J. and 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. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.04.004.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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., Williams, T.D., Jessop, T., 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.
  • Grayson, K.L., De Lisle, S.P., Jackson, J.E., Black, S.J., Crespi, E.J. 2012. Behavioral and physiological female responses to male sex ratio bias in a pond-breeding amphibian. Frontiers in Zoology. 9:24.