Kenneth James Chapin

Evolutionary Biology

Behavioral Ecology

Data Science

Museum Science


Evolutionary Biology
Behavioral Ecology

The study of how evolutionary forces interact with the behavior of organisms and their environment.

How do genetic mechanisms affect behavior?
How does behavior affect genetic mechanisms?


Arachnids: spiders, scorpions, pseudoscorpions, whip spiders. Insects: flies, ants. Vertebrates: frogs, turtles, tortoises, snakes, cetaceans. Plants: invasive and endangered species. Bacteria: mutualists and symbionts.


Inferential Statistics, Information Theory, phylogenetics, Landscape Genetics, Geographic Information Systems, Bayesian Analysis, Machine Learning, Generalized Linear Modeling, Ordinal Analysis, Python, R, RShiny


eDNA, PCR, RAD tags, RADSeq, nextRAD, Sanger sequencing, shotgun sequencing, microsatellites, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), fluorometry, electrophoresis


Simulation Modeling, Analytical Modeling, Agent-Based-Modeling, High Performance Cluster Computing, Maximum Entropy , R, NetLogo

Publications Access
Chapin KJ, Kittle A, Dornhaus A. 2022. Social pseudoscorpion nest architecture provides direct benefits to group members and rivals the efficiency of honey bees. Journal of Arachnology 50:323-334 doi pdf
Wynne JJ, Niemiller ML, Chapin KJ. 2022. Evolutionary dynamics of cave and surface organisms. In: Cave Biodiversity: Speciation and Diversity of Subterranean Fauna. John Hopkins Press. site
Chapin KJ, Paat V, Dornhaus A. 2022. Brood as booty: the effect of colony size and resource value in social insect contests. Behavioral Ecology 33:549-555. doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Jones MR, Winkler DE, Rink G, Massatti R. 2022. Evolutionary dynamics inform management interventions of a hanging garden obligate, Carex specuicola. Frontiers in Conservation Science: Conservation Genomics 3: doi pdf
Briffa M, Lane SM, Chapin KJ, Peixoto PEC. 2020. Using ternary plots to investigate continuous variation in animal contest strategies. Animal Behaviour 167:85-99 doi pdf
Winkler DE, Chapin KJ, Garmon JD, Gaut BS, Huxman TE. 2020. Sahara mustard as a major threat to desert biodiversity in the southwest United States and the need to integrate contemporary methods to understand its biology. Evolution and Ecology 10:14453 doi pdf
Kattge J, Bönisch G, Díaz S, Lavorel S,…Chapin KJ, et al. 2019. TRY plant trait database - enhanced coverage and open access. Global Change Biology 26:119-188 doi pdf
Chapin KJ Peixoto PE, Briffa M.2019. The point of the triangle and utility of repeated measures: a response to comments on Chapin et al. Behavioral Ecology 30:1191-1192 doi pdf
Chapin KJ. 2019. Guano deposition predicts top predator (Amblypygi: Phrynidae) abundance in subtropical caves. Journal of Arachnology 47:385-388 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Peixoto PEC, Briffa M. 2019. Further mismeasures of animal contests: a new framework for assessment strategies. Behavioral Ecology 30:1177-1185 doi pdf
Winkler DE, Lin MY, Delgadillo J, Chapin KJ, Huxman TE. 2019. Early life history responses and phenotypic shifts in a rare endemic plant responding to climate change. Conservation Physiology 7:coz076 doi pdf
Winkler DE, Chapin KJ, François O, Garmon JD, Gaut BS, Huxman TE. 2019. Multiple introductions and population structure during the rapid expansion of the invasive Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii). Ecology & Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.5239 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Smith KH. 2019. Vertically stratified arthropod diversity in Florida upland hardwood forests. Florida Entomologist 102:1 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Winkler DE, Wiencek P, Agnarsson I. 2018. Island biogeography and ecological modeling of the amblypygid Phrynus marginemaculatus in the Florida Keys archipelago. Ecology & Evolution 8:9139-9151 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Chen E. 2018. Reproductive strategy of a cave-living arachnid with indeterminate growth (Phrynus longipes). Journal of Arachnology 46:380-383 doi pdf
McArthur IW, Miranda G, Seiter M, Chapin KJ. 2018. Global patterns of sexual dimorphism of Amblypygi. Zoologischer Anzeiger 273:56-64. doi pdf
Winkler DE, Gremer JR, Chapin KJ, Kao M, Huxman TE. 2018. Rapid alignment of functional trait variation with locality across the invaded range of Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii). American Journal of Botany 105:1188-1197 doi pdf
Chapin KJ. 2017. Arthropod Life History. In Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. SpringerNature doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_820-1 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Reed-Guy S. 2017. Territoriality mediates atypical size-symmetric cannibalism in the Amblypygi Phrynus longipes. Ethology 123:772-777 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Nonacs PN, Hayes L. 2017. Evaluating an open-exam approach to engaging students in evolutionary paradoxes: Cheating to Learn. American Biology Teacher 79:140-144 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Hebets EA. 2016. Invited Review: The behavioral ecology of amblypygids. Journal of Arachnology 44:1-14 doi pdf
Winkler DE, Chapin KJ, Kueppers LM. 2016. Soil moisture mediates alpine life form and community productivity responses to warming. Ecology 97:1553-1563 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Hill-Lindsay S. 2016. Territoriality evidenced by asymmetric intruder-holder motivation in an amblypygid. Behavioural Processes 122:110-115 doi pdf
Chapin KJ. 2015. Cave-epigean behavioral variation of the whip spider Phrynus longipes (Arachnida: Amblypygi) evidenced by activity, vigilance, and aggression. Journal of Arachnology. 43:214-219 doi pdf
Chapin KJ. 2014. Microhabitat and spatial complexity predict group size of the whip spider Heterophrynus batesii in Amazonian Ecuador. Journal of Tropical Ecology 30:173-177 doi pdf
Chapin KJ. 2011. A subcuticular permanent marking technique (Visual Implant Elastomer) for Scorpions. Journal of Arachnology 39:194-6 doi pdf
Chapin KJ, Meylan PA. 2011. Turtle populations at a heavily used recreational site: Ichetucknee Springs State Park, Columbia and Suwannee Counties, Florida. Herpetological Conservation & Biology 6:51-60 pdf

Google Scholar: nl6d1xcAAAAJ

ORCID: 0000-0002-8382-4050


6 Animals with extraordinary adaptations to cave life

Living in a cave isn’t easy, but these six cave-dwelling animals have gained some amazing traits to help them survive there!

Watch @ Scishow

Watch Cannibal ‘Scorpions’ Fight

With long, spiky legs and formidable fangs, tailless whip scorpions look a lot scarier than they are…

Read @ National Geographic

Meet the arachnid that may add a new chapter to the book on sensory biology

Whip spiders, also known as tailless whip scorpions, are actually neither spiders nor scorpions.

Read @ The Scientist

Cannibal Battle: Whip Scorpion Turf Wars can be Deadly

Tailless whip scorpions are fiercely territorial - and willing to fight for their turf. Scientists recently set out to learn more about the behaviour.

Read @ Earth Touch News

The spider so terrifying that it has its own publicist

He has spent years studying these violent and terrifying-looking animals , and assures that they are truly “delicate and shy” beings.

Read @ BBC News

Great Whip Spider Boom: Are These Exotic Arachnids a Spider of Tailless Scorpions?

The current surge of behavioral and neurophysiological studies about whip spiders has opened a doorway into their strange sensory world.

Read @ Science Times

Understanding How Animals Behave

There is shocking little known about why animals behave the ways they do. Here, we speak with Dr. Kenny Chapin who explains what we know about animal behavior…

Listen @ KZMU

Adaptation with Nadia Osman & Dr. Kenneth Chapin

The current surge of behavioral and neurophysiological studies about whip spiders has opened a doorway into their strange sensory world.

Listen @ Seeker Podcasts


Dr. Kenny Chapin is an evolutionary biologist and science communicator with a lifelong passion to inspire others about the natural world. He holds degrees and biology, including a PhD in biology from UCLA. Dr. Chapin has authored dozens of scientific and educational publications in academic journals and books like ​​Animal Behaviour, ​​Behavioral Ecology and ​​American Biology Teacher​; ​presented at invited lectures and conferences around the globe; and served as a visiting scientist and lecturer at UCLA, UC Davis, and the University of Arizona. His work has been featured in science news outlets like BBC, National Geographic, The Science Times, Earth Touch News, SciShow, Bad Science, and Science Moab.