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Hubert Schwabl

Hubert Schwabl

Field of Study: Behavioral Endocrinology
Title: Professor
Degrees: Ph.D. Zoology, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich
Homepage: Homepage/Lab Web Site Link
Google Scholar:  Google Scholar
Office: 511 Abelson Hall
Phone: 509-335-4278
Fax: 509-335-3184
Mailing Address: School of Biological Sciences
Washington State University
PO Box 644236
Pullman,WA 99164-4236


We investigate reproduction and development and are particularly interested in: 1) social and neuroendocrine regulation of alternative reproductive phenotypes and sex differences; 2) mechanisms and evolution of maternal effects; 3) developmental plasticity and life histories; and 4) epigenetic mechanisms of maternal effects. Our studies focus on long- and short-term modifications of offspring development and phenotype by maternal hormones. We are also interested in adult phenotypic plasticity, stress physiology, endocrine disruption, and sexual differentiation of brain and behavior. Our main study systems are birds.

Representative Publications:

  • Goymann W. & Schwabl H. (2021) The tyranny of phylogeny – A plea for a less dogmatic stance on two-species comparisons. Bioessays : News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. e2100071. PMID 34155665 DOI: 10.1002/bies.202100071.
  • Boersma J., Barron D.G., Baldassarre D.T., Webster M.S. & Schwabl H. (2021) Wildfire affects expression of male sexual plumage through suppressed testosterone circulation in a tropical songbird. J Avian Biol
  • Schwabl H. & Partecke J. (2020) Developmental programming of the adrenocortical stress response by yolk testosterone depends on sex and life history stage. J Exp. Biol 223. PMID 32967995 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.220152.
  • Partecke J., Hegyi G., Fitze P. S., Gasparini J. & Schwabl H. (2020) Maternal effects and urbanization: Variation of yolk androgens and immunoglobulin in city and forest blackbirds. Ecology and Evolution. 10: 2213-2224. PMID 32128150 DOI: 10.1002/Ece3.605.
  • Boersma J., Enbody, E.D., Jones J.A., Nason D., Lopez-Contreras E., Karubian, J. & Schwabl H. (2020) Testosterone induces plumage ornamentation followed by enhanced territoriality in a female songbird. Behav Ecol DOI: 10.1093/Beheco/Araa077.
  • Khalil, S., Welklin, J.F., McGraw K.J., Boersma J., H. Schwabl, H., Webster M.S., & Karubian J. (2020) Testosterone regulates CYP2J19-linked carotenoid-based plumage expression in male red-backed fairywrens (Malurus melanocephalus). Proc R Soc B Proc B 287 (1935), 20201687.
  • Enbody, E.D.  J. Boersma,  H. Schwabl, and  J. Karubian. 2018. Female ornamentation is associated with elevated aggression and testosterone in a tropical songbird. Behavioral Ecology 29, 1056–1066.
  • Lindsay WR, Barron DG, Webster MS, Schwabl H. 2016. Testosterone activates sexual dimorphism including male-typical carotenoid but not melanin plumage pigmentation in a female bird. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 219: 3091-3099.
  • Schwabl H., Dowling J., Baldassarre, D., Lindsay, Gahr., M. W. Webster M. 2015. Intra- and intersexual variation in brain song control nuclei and song structure in a tropical birds with alternative male mating strategy. Animal Behaviour 104, 39-50.
  • Schwabl, H., Lindsay, W. R., D. G. Barron, and M. S. Webster. 2014. Endocrine correlates of mate choice and promiscuity in females of a socially monogamous avian mating system with alternative male reproductive phenotypes. Current Zoology 60: 804-815.
  • Egbert, J.R. , M. F. Jackson, B. D. Rodgers, H. Schwabl. 2013. Between-female variation in house sparrow yolk testosterone concentration is negatively associated with CYP19A1 (aromatase) mRNA expression in ovarian follicles.
  • General and Comparative Endocrinology 183 (2013) 53–62
  • Partecke, J. and H. Schwabl, Organizational effects of maternal testosterone on reproductive behavior of adult house sparrows. Dev Neurobiol, 2008. 68(14): p. 1538-48.
  • Groothuis,T.G. G. & H. Schwabl. 2008. Review: Hormone-mediated maternal effects in birds: mechanisms matter but what do we know of them? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London – Series B: Biological Sciences. 363(1497): 1647-1661.
  • Martin, T.E. & H. Schwabl. 2008. Variation in maternal effects and embryonic development rates among passerine species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London – Series B: Biological Sciences 363(1497): 1663-1674.
  • Groothuis T.G.G., Carere C., Lipar J., Drent P.J. & Schwabl H. 2008. Selection on personality in a songbird affects maternal hormone levels tuned to its effect on timing of reproduction. Biology Letters 4(5): 465-467.
  • Schwabl, H., M.G. Palacios, and T.E. Martin, Selection for rapid embryo development correlates with embryo exposure to maternal androgens among passerine birds. Am Nat, 2007. 170(2): p. 196-206.
  • ions in female canaries (Serinus canaria). J Exp Biol. 208(Pt 24):4593-8.
  • Badyaev AV, Schwabl H, Young RL, Duckworth RA, Navara KJ, Parlow AF. (2005) Adaptive sex differences in growth of pre-ovulation oocytes in a passerine bird. Proc Biol Sci. 272(1577):2165-72.
  • Schwabl, H., D. Mock, and J. Gieg. 1997. A hormonal mechanism of parental favouritism. Nature 386: 231.
    Jarvis, E.D., H. Schwabl, S. Ribeiro & C. Mello. 1997. Brain gene regulation by territorial singing in a free-living songbird. NeuroReport 8: 2073-2077.
  • Kirn, J. R. & H. Schwabl. 1997. Photoperiod regulation of neuron death in the adult canary. Journal of Neurobiology 33: 223-231.
  • Schwabl, H. 1993. Yolk is a source of maternal testosterone for developing birds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 90: 11439-11441.