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Deborah Hutchinson

Assistant Professor

Deborah Hutchinson
B.A. University of San Diego
M.S. Old Dominion University
Ph.D. Old Dominion University

Email: dhutchin@coastal.edu
Phone: 843-349-6462
Fax: 843-349-2201
Office - SCI 214


Courses:  Biological Science II (BIOL 122), Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (BIOL 315), Herpetology (BIOL 417/517)

Research Interests: My research involves the morphology and chemical ecology of amphibians and reptiles, particularly in the Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus. Feeding experiments revealed that defensive steroids in the nuchal glands of R. tigrinus are sequestered from dietary toads. Additional experiments are underway to answer lingering questions about this unique system:

  • What physiological mechanisms allow Rhabdophis tigrinus to tolerate the ingestion of cardiotonic steroids in toads, which are lethal to most vertebrates?
  • How are the ingested toxins taken up, transported, and delivered to the nuchal glands?
  • In what ways do the snakes modify the toxins and what effects do these modifications have on the antipredatory efficacy of the steroids?

Selected Publications:

Mori, A, Burghardt, GM, Savitzky, AH, Roberts, KA, Hutchinson, DA, and Goris, RC. 2011. Nuchal glands: A novel defensive system in snakes. Chemoecology Online First, 2 August 2011.

Hutchinson, DA, Savitzky, AH, Mori, A, Burghardt, GM, Meinwald, J, and Schroeder, FC. 2011. Chemical investigations of defensive steroid sequestration by the Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus. Chemoecology Online First, 30 April 2011.

Hutchinson, D.A., A.H. Savitzky, A. Mori, J. Meinwald and F.C. Schroeder. 2008. Maternal provisioning of sequestered defensive steroids by the Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus. Chemoecology 18(3): 181-190

Hutchinson, D.A., A. Mori, A.H. Savitzky, G.M. Burghardt, X. Wu, J. Meinwald and F.C. Schroeder. 2007. Dietary sequestration of defensive steroids in nuchal glands of the Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104(7): 2265-2270

Hutchinson, D.A. and A.H. Savitzky. 2004. Vasculature of the parotoid glands of four species of toads (Bufonidae: Bufo). Journal of Morphology 260(2): 247-254