Hello! I’m Victoria (Vicky) Watson-Zink and I’m a postdoc at Stanford University (joint Stanford Science Fellow/NSF PRFB Fellow), where I study the genomics of terrestriality in land crabs in Prof. Lauren O’Connell’s ๐Ÿธ Laboratory of Organismal Biology!

๐Ÿฆ€ origami crab ๐Ÿ๏ธ is a blog about my research adventures and my experiences in academia. Occasionally, I also post about scientific topics that fascinate me more generally, conferences, workshops, and professional development events Iโ€™ve participated in, and sometimes about my trials and successes self-learning Japanese. I’m also active on Twitter (@ origamicrab). Welcome!


1. “Making the Grade: Physiological adaptations to terrestrial environments in decapod crabs” was just published in ASD. Check it out here!

2. “Troubled giants: The updated conservation status of the coconut crab (Birgus latro)” was recently published in Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Check it out here!

3. “Terrestrialization in gastropods: lineages, ecological constraints, and comparisons with other animals” was recently published in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. Check it out here!

Recent Research Features

Highly competitive postdoctoral program for elite scholars enters its second year

“Launched as part of Stanfordโ€™s Long-Range Vision in 2020, the highly competitive Stanford Science Fellows program for postdoctoral researchers aims to support top scholars with diverse perspectives and backgrounds who are conducting award-winning research in the fields of the life sciences, mathematics and physical sciences.”

Stanford Today

โ€˜A bigger deal than it soundsโ€™: Coconut crabs are vanishing, island by island

“Despite being widespread across the Pacific and Indian oceans, coconut crabs are disappearing across their range, according to a new conservation assessment that warns theyโ€™re vulnerable to extinction.”

Mongabay: News & Inspiration from Nature’s Frontline

Near-Peer Seminar: land crab evolution

“In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Terrestriality: Exploring Life-History Evolution in Land Crabs”, Watson-Zink described how she uses similarities in the DNA of land crab species to study their evolution from a marine ancestor.” 


A Tradition of Terrestriality: Population Biology Ph.D. Student Victoria Morgan Journeys Among Land Crabs

“In the lab of Richard Grosberg, Population Biology Ph.D. student Victoria Morgan studies the genetics of land crabs to understand how they adapted to living on land.”

College of Biological Sciences Newsletter

Red, White and Blue Crabs: These Tree-Climbing, Bird-Killing Crabs Come in Multiple Colors and No One Knows Why

“Scientists are trying to solve the mystery of these big crabs’ colorful differences.”

Discover Magazine, Science Sushi

Tree of Life Podcast

“In this episode, we interview Victoria Morgan, PhD candidate in Population Biology. We discuss her background and research with land crabs.”

Tree of Life – UC Davis