Dr. Martha Muñoz

Biological Sciences

Dr. Muñoz’s research program at Virginia Tech focuses on evolutionary physiology and ecology. With respect to global change, Dr. Muñoz studies how historical patterns of physiological variation can inform our understanding of how contemporary and future environmental changes will impact organisms. Specifically, she determines how quickly or slowly physiological traits evolve, and uses this information to assess whether rates of evolution can meet the demands of a rapidly changing environment. Additionally, Dr. Muñoz focuses on how behavioral responses can mitigate the effects of environmental change, and investigates whether such behavioral shifts in turn have indirect ecological and evolutionary consequences on other aspects of organisms’ phenotypes and on community composition.

Dr. Muñoz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. She publishes broadly on evolutionary biology, animal behavior, biomechanics, and physiological ecology.


Dr. Muñoz serves in several leadership capacities for the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology, and has contributed to novel high school curricula in evolutionary biology. At Virginia Tech, Dr. Muñoz will teach undergraduate courses in Evolutionary Biology. At the Graduate level, she will lead a seminar on Eco-Evolutionary Physiology in the Era of Global Climate Change.

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Recent Relevant Publications

Muñoz MM, Losos JB. 2017. Thermoregulation simultaneously promotes and forestalls evolution in a tropical lizard. ​American Naturalist. (in press)

Muñoz MM, Anderson PSL, Patek SN. 2017. Mechanical sensitivity and the dynamics of evolutionary rate shifts in biomechanical systems. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 284:20162325.

Muñoz MM, Langham GM, Brandley MC, Rosauer D, Williams SE, Moritz C. 2016. Basking behavior predicts the evolution of heat tolerance in Australian rainforest lizards. Evolution 70:2537-2549.

Muñoz MM, Moritz C. 2016. Adaptation to a changing world: Evolutionary resilience to climate change. In: How Evolution Shapes Our Lives: Essays on Biology and Society. (JB Losos & RE Lenski, Eds.) Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ.

Phillips BL, Muñoz MM, Hatcher A, Macdonald S, Llewelyn J, Lucy V, Moritz C. 2016.  Heat hardening in a tropical lizard: Geographic variation explained by the predictability and variance in environmental temperatures. Functional Ecology 30:1161–1168.

Conover AE, Cook EG, Boronow KE, Muñoz MM. 2015. Effects of ectoparasitism on behavioral thermoregulation in the tropical lizards, Anolis cybotes (Squamata: Dactyloidae) and A. armor (Squamata: Dactyloidae). Breviora 545:1—13.

Muñoz MM, Crandell KE, Campbell-Staton S, Fenstermacher K, Kim-Frank H, Van Middlesworth P, Sasa M, Losos  JB, Herrel A. 2015. Multiple paths to aquatic specialization in four species of Central American Anolis lizards.  Journal of Natural History 49:1717—1730.

Muñoz MM, Stimola MA, Algar AC, Conover A, Rodriguez A, Landestoy MA, Bakken GS, Losos JB. 2014. Evolutionary stasis and lability in thermal physiology in a group of tropical lizards. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 281:20132433

Muñoz MM, Crawford NG, McGreevy TJ, Messana NJ, Tarvin RD, Revell LJ, Zandvliet RM, Hopwood JM, Mock E, Schneider AL, Schneider CJ. 2013. Divergence in coloration and ecological speciation in the Anoles marmoratus species complex. Molecular Ecology 22:2668—2682.