Andrew Sensenig, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology


  • Ph.D. 2009, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • M.S. 2002, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • B.A. 2000, Millersville University, Millersville, PA


Andrew studies arthropods, including spiders, insects, and harvestmen, to address broad questions regarding animal evolution and biomechanics. For example, how do different traits in animals co-evolve? Are there universal principles that predict how locomoting animals exchange potential and kinetic energy? Does growth correlate with changes in biomechanics?

Andrew enjoys directing undergraduate capstone research projects, which are required for all Tabor science majors. Students with interests in zoology, biomechanics, general physics, and sustainable systems may contact him for projects. He would also welcome working with students interested in the interface of science and religion in Western civilization, and particularly the relationship between science and Evangelicalism today.

Andrew’s hobbies include raising rare breeds of small livestock, including Arapawa goats, American Guinea Hogs, and Spanish chickens. These projects are directly related to his interests in conserving biodiversity and promoting more sustainable agricultural systems. Christian theology provides much of the rationale for the modern global environmental movement, and Andrew hopes that his environmental science students learn to integrate values and science.


Post-doctoral Research Fellowship, 2009. Spider silk and web biomechanics in the Todd Blackledge laboratory. University of Akron, Akron, OH, 44325

Peer-reviewed Publications (bold denotes undergraduate coauthors)

Sensenig A. T., Kelly S.P., Lorentz K.A., Lesher B., Blackledge T.A. (2013). Mechanical performance of spider orb webs is tuned for high speed prey. Journal of Experimental Biology. 216, 3388-3394.

Sensenig A., Kelly S.P., Lorentz K.A., Blackledge T.A. (2012). Spider orb webs rely on radial threads to absorb prey kinetic energy. Proceedings of the Royal Society Interface. 9(73):1880-1891.

Sensenig, A. T., Agnarsson, I., Blackledge, T. A. (2011). Adult spiders use tougher silk: ontogenetic changes in web architecture and silk biomechanics in the orb-weaver spider. Journal of Zoology. 285:28-38.

Kelly S.P., Sensenig A., Lorentz K.A., Blackledge T.A. (2011). Damping capacity is evolutionarily conserved in the radial silk of orb weaving spiders. Zoology. 114:233-238.

Sensenig A., Agnarsson I., & Blackledge T.A. (2010). Behavioural and biomaterial coevolution in spider orb webs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 23:1807-2029. (cover article)

Sensenig, A. T., Shultz, J. W. & Kiger, K. (2010). Hydrodynamic pumping by serial gill arrays in the mayfly nymph Centroptilum triangulifer. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213:3319-31.

Sensenig A., Agnarsson I., Gondek T. & Blackledge, T.A. (2010). Webs in vitro and in vivo: Spiders alter their orb web spinning behavior in the laboratory. Journal of Arachnology. 38:183-191.

Sensenig, A. T., Kiger, K. T. and Shultz, J. W. (2009). The rowing-to-flapping transition: ontogenetic changes in gill-plate kinematics in the nymphal mayfly Centroptilum triangulifer (Ephemeroptera, Baetidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 98, 540-555.

Agnarsson, I., Cecilia Boutry, Shing-Chung Wong, Avinash Baji, Ali Dhinojwala, Andrew T. Sensenig, & Todd A. Blackledge (2009). Supercontraction forces in spider dragline silk depend on hydration rate. Zoology 112(5), 325-331 *journal cover

Sensenig AT, Shultz JW. (2006). Mechanical energy oscillations during locomotion in the harvestman Leiobunum vittatum (Opiliones). Journal of Arachnology 34: 627-633.

Sensenig, A. & J.W. Shultz. (2004). Mechanics of elastic extension in the pedipalpal joints of scorpions and solifuges (Arachnida: Scorpiones, Solifugae). Journal of Arachnology 32:1-10.

Sensenig, A. T. & Shultz, J. W. (2003). Mechanics of cuticular elastic energy storage in leg joints lacking extensor muscles in arachnids. Journal of Experimental Biology 206,771-784.