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About Becky L. Williams

I am interested in predator-prey interactions and chemical ecology. Natural selection can be particularly powerful in these life-or-death struggles, and I am fascinated by the variety of venoms and poisons that have evolved, as well as by the corresponding physiological and behavioral counter-adaptations to this wicked weaponry.
I study the blue-ring octopus and its mantis shrimp predators and prey, as well as a poisonous salamander common on the California coast and its toxin-resistant garter snake predator. Both the salamander and the octopus have the deadly neurotoxin tetrodotoxin (TTX).
The hypothesis is that TTX is produced by symbiotic bacteria, at least in some marine taxa. I am currently examining this proposition in the octopuses, so my focus on chemistry has taken me from herpetology, to malacology, to bacterial genetics! Who knows what the future holds?


Present Assistant Professor, Utah State University Biology

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Peer Reviewed Articles (11)

Other Contributions (2)

Presentations (10)