Karen Kiemnec-Tyburczy Ph.D.

Assistant Professor - Cellular/ Molecular Biology & Zoology

Karen Kiemnec-Tyburczy Ph.D.
(707) 826-5550
SciC 104

Karen received her Bachelor's of Science and her Ph.D. from Oregon State University and spent several years doing research at Cornell University before joining the Humboldt faculty.

Specialty Area

Evolutionary genetics, chemical communication, evolution of amphibian reproductive behavior and development


BS, Biology Oregon State University
PhD, Zoology Oregon State University
Postdoctoral Associate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Courses Taught

Evolution (BIOL307)
Genetics (BIOL340/BIOL340L)
Molecular Genetics Lab (BIOL440)
Principle of Animal Development (ZOOL476)
Becoming a STEM scientist (SCI 100)


I focus on the evolution of natural vertebrate populations. In particular, I am interested in amphibians, an early-diverging tetrapod lineage that provides tractable systems for investigating evolutionary questions across multiple scales, from genes to development to behavior.

View Karen's research page


  • Westphal, M., E. Nix, E. Gruber, and K. M. Kiemnec-Tyburczy. 2021. Taricha granulosa (Rough-skinned newt). Overwintering of larvae and larval diet. Herpetological Review 52: 820
  • Staub, N. L., A. B. Stiller and K. M. Kiemnec-Tyburczy. 2020. A new perspective on female-to-male communication in salamander courtship. Integrative and Comparative Biology 60: 722-731.
  • Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K. M., K. E. Tracy, K. R. Lips and K. R. Zamudio. 2018. Genetic variation and selection of MHC class I loci differ in two congeneric frogs. Genetica 146: 125-136
  • Arnold, S. J., K. M. Kiemnec-Tyburczy, and L. D. Houck. 2017. The evolution of courtship behavior in plethodontid salamanders, contrasting patterns of stasis and diversification. Herpetologica 73: 190-205
  • Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K. M. and J. R. Sapp. 2017. Courtship behaviors of two salamander congeners and the evolution of a novel courtship behavior in the genus Aneides. Herpetological Review 48: 6-10
  • Tracy, K.E., K.M. Kiemnec-Tyburczy, J.A. DeWoody, G. Parra-Olea and K.R. Zamudio. 2015. Positive selection drives the evolution of a major histocompatibility complex gene in an endangered Mexican salamander species complex. Immunogenetics 67: 323-335.
  • Savage, A.E., K.M. Kiemnec-Tyburczy, A.R. Ellison, R.C. Fleischer and K.R. Zamudio. 2014. Conservation and divergence in the frog immunome: pyrosequencing and de novo assembly of immune tissue transcriptomes. Gene 542: 98-108.

Graduate students

Emily Gremling (co-advised with John Reiss), Giusy (Sun) Lanzilli (co-advised with John Reiss), Stacie Nunes (co-advised with Sharyn Marks), Marilyn Sandoval, Luisa Segovia