Lynne D. Houck


B.A., U California, Berkeley, M.A. 1975, Ph.D. 1977


E-Mail:, Phone: 541-737-4353, Fax: 541-737-0501, Address: Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon  97331-2914.

My research interests encompass many aspects of reproduction in amphibians, particularly salamanders. I work mainly on eastern North American species of terrestrial plethodontid salamanders in the genera Plethodon and Desmognathus.  A main focus is on male courtship pheromones, which are chemical signals that affect female receptivity. Working with colleagues and students on behavioral experiments with terrestrial salamanders, we have documented reduced courtship time for pairs in which the female received these pheromones. We have identified the individual components of the whole pheromone extract, and are testing these individual components for effects on female responsiveness.  Other areas of interest include the evolutionary history of pheromone-producing glands, and the evolution of delivery behaviors. At a more proximal level, we are examining the female's neurophysiological response to courtship pheromone stimulation.  In our most recent work, we have developed a expression system for one of the pheromone constituents (PRF, plethodontid receptivity factor), which has successfully produced recombinant-PRF.  Several collaborative projects were funded by a recent IRCEB grant from the National Science Foundation.


Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K. M., S. K. Woodley, R. A. Watts, S. J. Arnold, and L. D. Houck. 2011. Expression of vomeronasal receptors and related signaling molecules in the nasal cavity of a caudate amphibian (Plethodon shermani). Chemical Senses doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjr105. pdf

Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K. M., R. A. Watts, and S. J. Arnold. 2011. Characterization of two putative cytokine receptors, gp130 and ciliary neutrophic factor receptor, from terrestrial salamanders. Genes & Genetic Systems 86: 131-137. pdf

Palmer, C.A., A. Picard, R. A. Watts, L. D. Houck and S. J. Arnold. 2010. Rapid evolution of Plethodontid Modulating Factor (PMF), a hypervariable salamander courtship pheromone, is driven by positive selection. Journal of Molecular Evolution 70: 427-440. pdf

Kiemnec-Tyburczy, K. M., R. A. Watts, R. G. Gregg, D. von Borstel, and S. J. Arnold. 2009. Evolutionary shifts in courtship pheromone composition revealed by EST analysis of plethodontid salamander mental glands. Gene 432:75-81. pdf

Watts, R.A., C.A. Palmer, R.C. Feldhoff, P.W. Feldhoff, L.D. Houck, A.G. Jones, M.E. Pfrender, S.M. Rollmann and S.J. Arnold.  2004.  Stabilizing selection on morphology and behavior masks positive selection on the signal in a salamander pheromone signaling complex.  Molecular Biology & Evolution 21: 1032-1041. pdf

Houck, L. D. and Arnold, S. J.  2003.  Courtship and mating.  Pp. 383-424 In: D. M. Sever (ed), Phylogeny and Reproductive Biology of Urodela (Amphibia).  Science Publishers, Enfield, New Hampshire.  627 pp. pdf



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