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Kirt L. Onthank, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology



Ph.D., 2013, Washington State University
M.S., 2008, Walla Walla University
B.S., 2006, Walla Walla University


Ecological physiology and behavioral ecology of marine invertebrates, especially cephalopods.


All living things must bring to bear specific physiological adaptations to survive and thrive in the environments in which they find themselves.  I am particularly interested how cephalopods' physiology, which is similar to that of slugs, snails and clams, has enabled this group of marine invertebrates to be active, mobile predators that compete with vertebrates.  I am also interested in adaptations, behavioral and physiological to dynamic, changing environments, such as hydrothermal vents.


BIOL 464 Animal Physiology


Bates AE, TJ Bird, K Robert, KL Onthank GP Quinn, SK Juniper, RW Lee (2012) Activity and positioning of eurythermal hydrothermal vent sulphide worms in a variable thermal environment. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 448:149-155

Robert K, KL Onthank, SK Juniper, RW Lee (2012) Small-scale thermal responses of hydrothermal vent polynoid polychaetes: Preliminary in situ experiments and methodological development. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 420:69-76

Onthank KL, DL Cowles (2011) Prey selection in Octopus rubescens: possible roles of energy budgeting and prey nutritional composition. Marine Biology 158:2795-2804

(509) 527-2642
Dr. Onthank's Website

Last update on September 19, 2017