The vertebrate body form is very diverse. Vertebrates swim, crawl, slither, walk, run, hop and fly. How bodies are able to move, and more specifically how muscles, bones and other tissues work together to produce such different motions is the result of the functional and evolutionary flexibility of the musculoskeletal system. The long term goal of my research is to understand the anatomical, physiological and functional flexibility of vertebrate muscles and bones. I will do this in two ways; by testing hypotheses on how differences in mechanics and physiology of similar animals contribute to variation in performance, and by subjecting animals to non-natural experimental environments and testing hypotheses on how environmental condition affects body shape and kinematic behaviour over time. A series of complementary projects focused on biomechanics and functional morphology are designed to achieve these goals through a student project-driven interdisciplinary research program.
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