Welcome to my website!
My research applies biomechanics and physiology as explanatory tools to address the origins and maintenance of biodiversity. Specifically, I integrate physics and engineering with anatomy to study the performance of biological systems in response to the physical demands placed by the environment. How physiological features of the musculoskeletal system drives whole-organismal performance can then be used to answer fundamental questions in ecology and evolution. Fishes have been an important study system in my research due to their impressive diversity, but my research is driven by the scientific question.
I employ an interdisciplinary approach that utilizes theoretical and empirical methods, both in the lab and in the field, including:
My undergraduate research experiences at the University of California, Davis, spurred my interest in evaluating how ecological and evolutionary history can influence an organisms's morphology, behavior, and performance, and how these patterns change when organisms are faced with novel pressures. While working in Peter Wainwright's lab, I became intrigued by the factors that caused specialists to act like generalists after reading about Liem's Paradox, which demonstrated that how an organism behaves and functions is dependent upon the ecological conditions.
This served as an impetus for evaluating some of the biomechanical factors that could have contributed towards one of the most seminal events in vertebrate history: the conquest of land. For my doctoral dissertation, under the advisement of Rick Blob at Clemson University, I conducted biomechanical analyses to investigate how the morphological changes observed across fossil tetrapodomorphs contributed towards vertebrates becoming terrestrial.
For my first postdoctoral position, I was a research fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), where I was conducting a synthesis to address the strengths and weaknesses of the current mathematical and statistical frameworks being used to quantify phenotypic selection.
Currently, I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Research Fellow with John Hutchinson through the Structure and Motion Lab at The Royal Veterinary College, where we will be expanding our work on the locomotor biomechanics associated with the water-to-land transition in tetrapod evolution.
To find out more about me and the experiences that shaped my current research program, check out my featured interview on LiveScience!
Thanks for stopping by!
Hanging out with Eryops at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History!
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