Kathryn Kavanagh

Kathryn Kavanagh, PhD

Associate Professor


Kavanagh Research Lab



Liberal Arts 385


1998James Cook University of North QueenslandPhD in Biology
1992College of William and MaryMA in Marine Science


  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Evolutionary Developmental Biology
  • Embryology
  • Coral Reef Biology





Structure and phylogeny of vertebrates. Laboratory work illustrates evolutionary trends and specializations.

Structure and phylogeny of vertebrates. Laboratory work illustrates evolutionary trends and specializations.

One to four hours in varied formats Selected topics in Biology. In recent years these have included physiology and biochemistry of marine animals, evolutionary ecology, biology of marine mammals, morphometrics and phylogenetic systematics, and extremophiles.

Introduction to study in the disciplines of the College of Arts and Sciences. This course is designed to increase student success at college. The overall goal of the course is to facilitate a smooth transition to college life by engaging students in a structured curriculum of academic and life skills enhancement while, at the same time, encouraging the development of enduring relationships between students, faculty and advisors, and classmates. To accomplish this goal, the content of the class includes: locating and utilizing campus resources, the importance of co-curricular activity on campus, goal setting and time management skills, writing skills, test preparation and taking skills, critical and creative thinking skills, and career and major/minor exploration.


Research Activities

  • Adaptive plasticity in thoracic and limb regions in birds and mammals
  • Co-evolution of morphological and life history traits in damselfishes


Research Interests

  • Developmental bias and plasticity in evolution
  • Vertebrate skeletal development and evolution
  • Evolution of larval-brooding damselfishes

Select publications

  • Kavanagh, K.D. (2019).
    Developmental plasticity associated with early structural integration and evolutionary patterns: examples of developmental bias and developmental facilitation in the skeletal system.
    Evolution & Development
  • Young, N.M., Takkellapati, S., Winslow, B., Kavanagh, K.D. (2015).
    Shared rules of development predict patterns of evolution in segmentation.
    Nature Communications, 6, 6690.
  • Kavanagh, K.D., Evans, A.E., Jernvall, J. (2007).
    Predicting evolutionary patterns of mammalian teeth from development.
    Nature, 449, 427-432.
Latest from Kathryn

Request edits to your profile