Kevin J. McGraw

Professor; Director, School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Program
Kevin McGraw
Phone: (480) 965-5518, Lab: (480) 965-2593
Office: LSC 522
Education: PhD, 2003, Cornell University
Curriculum Vitae: mcgraw_k_cv.pdf

Kevin McGraw is an integrative behavioral ecologist who primarily studies the colors of animals such as birds to understand the costs, benefits and evolution of visual signals. He and his students use a variety of approaches from fields including biochemistry, nutrition, physiology, immunology and endocrinology to determine what factors control color intensity. They couple these approaches with behavioral, ecological and evolutionary studies, both in the field and the lab, to evaluate how and why animal colors function in visual communication.

McGraw and his team's interests continue to expand to include diverse avian groups (e.g. penguins, hummingbirds, parrots) and other colorful creatures such as spiders, lizards, and butterflies. Their studies of colors and pigments span all of Tinbergen’s levels of analysis, including adaptive, developmental, and evolutionary aspects.

Select Publications

  • Butler, M. W., Stahlschmidt, Z. R., Ardia, D. R., Davis, S., Davis, J. R., Guillette, Jr., L. J., Johnson, N., McCormick, S. D., McGraw, K. J.,and DeNardo, D. F. 2013. Thermal sensitivity of immune function: evidence against a generalist-specialist tradeoff among endothermic and ectothermic vertebrates. Am. Nat. 181:761-774.
  • Brown, A. C., McGraw, K. J., and Clotfelter, E. D. 2013. Dietary carotenoids increase yellow non-pigment coloration of female convict cichlids (Amantitlanianigrofasciata). Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 86:312-322.
  • Rowe, M., Tourville, E. A., and McGraw, K. J. 2012. Carotenoids in bird testes: links to body carotenoid supplies, plumage coloration, body mass, and testes mass in house finches (Carpodacusmexicanus). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. B 163:285-291.
  • Butler, M. W. and McGraw, K. J. 2012. Differential effects of early- and late-life access to carotenoids on adult immune function and ornamentation in mallard ducks (Anasplatyrhynchos).PLoS One 7:e38043.
  • Meadows, M. G., Roudybush, T., and McGraw, K. J. 2012. Dietary protein affects iridescent coloration in Anna's hummingbirds. J. Exp. Biol. 215:2742-2750.


  • Animal behavior expert Kevin McGraw appears on The List TV, talking about 'surprisingly deadly animals."
  • Animal behavior expert Kevin McGraw appears on The List TV, discussing tech companies' secret weapons — animal characteristics.

Additional Faculty Group

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