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Amy Marie Worthington, PhD

Assistant Professor

Amy Worthington

Contact

College of Arts and Sciences
Biology
HLSB - Hixson Lied Science Building

Amy Marie Worthington, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dr. Amy Worthington attended the University of South Dakota for her B.S. in Biology. After graduation, she continued on at USD to earn a M.S. degree studying the anti-predator behaviors of stalk-eyed flies and manage a long-term project dedicated to conserving the federally-endangered Hine's Emerald dragonfly. For the next five years, she researched mating behavior in field crickets at Iowa State University as she earned her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Dr. Worthington then transitioned into a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington State University where she worked on the development of sexually selected weapons in rhinoceros beetles and the hormonal mechanisms mediating wing polymorphism in crickets. Dr. Worthington joined the Biology Department at Creighton University in the fall of 2016. In addition to her work, Dr. Worthington and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening, playing games with friends, and spending time with their families and daughter Juniper. 

Teaching Interests

  • Behavioral ecology

Research Focus

Broadly, I am fascinated by bizarre morphologies and behaviors that are the result of sexual selection. Specifically, I am interested in the functional and physiological costs of these traits. I focus on trade-offs between reproduction and immunity, but also investigate topics such as sperm competition, the benefits of polyandry, and the molecular/hormonal mechanisms responsible for life-history tradeoffs. I have worked with a diverse array of invertebrate taxa (stalk-eyed flies, jumping spiders, dragonflies, crayfish, snails, and rhinoceros beetles), but currently focus my research on Gryllus firmus crickets. One particular interest is how individuals respond to long-term parasitic infections by the horsehair worm Paragordius varius, and how this infection impacts life-long fitness in its host.

Department

Biology

Position

Assistant Professor

Articles

  • Insects
    Worthington AM, Matthew R Whalen, Krista J Chang , Alexandria B, Gabriel Rivera Fluctuating Asymmetry in the Polymorphic Sand Cricket (Gryllus firmus): Are More Functionally Important Structures Always More Symmetric?
    13(7), p. 640 2022
  • Ecology and Evolution
    Amy M Worthington, Daniel Breiner, Matthew Whalen The developmental high-wire: Balancing resource investment in immunity and reproduction.
    12, p. e8774 2022
  • Ecological Entomology
    Worthington AM, Weak relationships of parasitic infection with sexual and life-history traits in wild-caught Texas field crickets (Gryllus texensis). In: Ecological Entomology.
    46, p. 76-88 2021
  • Journal of Insect Physiology
    Fat-Dachsous signaling pathway regulates growth of horns in Tropoxylus dichotomus, but does not affect horn allometry
    105, p. 85-94 2018
  • Evolution
    Worthington AM, Females gain direct benefits from immune-boosting ejaculates
    70, p. 928-933 2016
  • Behavioral Processes
    Worthington AM, Direct costs and benefits of multiple mating: Are high female mating rates due to ejaculate replenishment?In: Behavioural Processes
    124, p. 115-122 2016
  • Journal of Experimental Biology
    Worthington AM, Mating for male-derived prostaglandin: a functional explanation for the increased fecundity of mated female crickets?
    218, p. 2720-2727 2015
  • Ecology and Evolution
    , Evaluating indices of body condition in two cricket species. In: Ecology and Evolution, p. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1257 2014
  • Animal Behavior
    Worthington AM, Do male crickets strategically adjust the number and viability of their sperm under sperm competition? In: Animal Behaviour
    86, p. 55-60 2013
  • Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
    Worthington AM, Size matters, but so does shape: quantifying complex shape changes in a sexually selected trait in stalk-eyed flies (Diptera:Diopsidae). In: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
    106, p. 104-113 2012
  • Ethology
    Worthington AM, Sequential analysis reveals behavioral differences underlying female-biased predation risk in stalk-eyed flies. In: Ethology
    17, p. 829-837 2011
  • Biological Conservation
    , Influence of roadways on patterns of mortality and flight behavior of adult dragonflies in wetland areas. In: Biological Conservation
    144, p. 1638-1643 2011
  • Behavioral Ecology
    Worthington AM, Gender differences in survival and anti-predatory behavior in stalk-eyed flies. In: Behavioral Ecology
    21, p. 759-766 2010

Editing and Reviews

  • The Condor
    Worthington AM, Book review of Quantifying Behavior the JWatcher Way. In: The Condor
    11, p. 202-203 2010

Presentations

  • Invited talk title: 'A host of hardships: The reproductive costs of harboring a long-lived parasite' as part of the Down With Sickness: The Behavior of Infected Animals symposium session of Animal Behavior 2021. 2021
  • Invited talk title: 'A host of hardships: The reproductive costs of harboring a long-lived parasite' as part of the Small Orders, Big Ideas (Polyneoptera) symposium session of Ecological Society of America 2020. 2020
  • Invited departmental seminar at University of Nebraska - Omaha. 2020
  • Invited departmental seminar at Iowa State University. 2019
  • Harders E, Huynh B, and Worthington AM. 2019. A host of hardships: Can male crickets infected with long-lived parasites still obtain fitness? Behaviour, Chicago, IL (Poster). 2019
  • Craig C, Mack L, and Worthington AM. 2019. Live long or prosper: An investigation of immunological memory and its reproductive costs in crickets. Behaviour, Chicago, IL (Poster). 2019
  • Chang K, Whalen M, Rivera G, and Worthington AM. 2019. Do patterns of fluctuating asymmetry reflect the strength of natural and sexual selection in the sand cricket (Gryllus firmus)? Behaviour, Chicago, IL (Poster). 2019
  • Harders E and Worthington AM. 2019. Manipulation of host cricket immunity, growth, and reproduction by the parasitic horsehair worm. Southwestern Association of Parasitologists, Kingston, OK. (Talk by E Harders). 2019
  • Whalen, M*, Rivera G, and Worthington AM. 2019. Using fluctuating asymmetry to assess the strength of natural and sexual selection. Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (Poster). 2019
  • Harders E and Worthington AM. 2018. Manipulation of host cricket immunity, growth, and reproduction by the parasitic horsehair worm.  Rocky Mountain Conference of Parasitology. (Poster presentation) 2018
  • Harders E and Worthington AM. 2018. Manipulation of host cricket immunity, growth, and reproduction by the parasitic horsehair worm. International Society of Behavioral Ecology, Minneapolis, MN (Poster presentation). 2018
  • Whalen, M, Longhini J, Rivera G, and Worthington AM. 2018. Using fluctuating asymmetry to assess the strength of natural and sexual selection. National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Edmond, OK. (Poster presentation). 2018
  • Harders E, Fukumae A, and Worthington AM. 2018. Mechanisms of immune manipulation by Paragordius varius on the sand cricket, Gryllus firmus. National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Edmond, OK. (Poster presentation). 2018
  • Mack L, Shearon W, and Worthington AM. 2018. Evidence of immune priming in crickets. National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Edmond, OK. (Poster presentation). 2018
  • “The secret lives of crickets: Trade-offs between reproduction and survival”, Biology Department, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD. 2018
  • Invited departmental seminar at University of South Dakota. 2018
  • “The secret lives of crickets: Trade-offs between reproduction and survival”, Biology Department, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 2017
  • Invited departmental seminar at University of Nebraska - Lincoln. 2016
  • Worthington AM and Lavine LC. The role of larval immune activation on adult weapon development in the rhinoceros beetle, Trypoxylus dichotomus. Pacific Branch Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Honolulu, HI. (Poster presentation). 2016
  • Lavine MD, Hust JA, Gotoh H, Worthington AM, and Lavine LC. The Fat signaling pathway regulates isometric growth of horns and other appendages in Trypoxylus dichotomus. Pacific Branch Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Honolulu, HI. (Oral presentation.) 2016
  • “The secret lives of crickets: Trade-offs between reproduction and survival”, Biology Department, Gonzaga University 2016
  • Worthington AM* and Kelly CD. Mating to acquire ejaculate-derived compounds that confer fitness benefits. Presented in “Evolutionary Endocrinology” symposium at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Portland, OR (Oral presentation). 2016
  • “Direct benefits of mating: Ejaculates increase female fecundity and immunity after mating”, School of Biological Sciences BioLunch, Washington State University 2015
  • “Being promiscuous has its benefits: Ejaculates increase fecundity and immunity in female crickets”, Entomology Colloquium, Washington State University 2015
  • Invited departmental seminar at Washington State University. 2015
  • Invited departmental seminar at Lewis-Clark State College. 2014
  • “Too Legit to quit”, Lewis-Clark State College 2014
  • Worthington AM* and Kelly CD. Do females gain direct benefits from immune- boosting ejaculates in the Texas field cricket? Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Austin, TX. Also at Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Spring Symposium, Ames, IA. (Oral presentation) 2014
  • Invited departmental seminar at Iowa State University. 2013
  • Elliott ER*, Coffman CR, Reason RD, Sakaguchi D, Howell SH, and Worthington AM. Integrating active learning into a large introductory course: Preparing students for success in science. Experimental Biology, Boston, MA. (Poster presentation) 2013
  • Elliot ER*, Coffman C, Reason R, and Worthington AM. Faculty learning communities as a mechanism for course transformation. Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Symposium, Ames, IA. (Poster presentation) 2013

Awards

  • Peer Teaching Award
    Excellence in teaching
    Iowa State University Graduate and Professional Student Senate