General Interests and goals

My main research interests include exploring the relationship between vertebrate form-function. My goals are to integrate concepts drawn from functional morphology, comparative biomechanics, physiology, ecology, and statistics to further understand how phenotype influences performance. The primary model organisms present in my research are squamate reptiles because of their diverse morphological traits and presence across many different types of ecosystems. Other specific biological interests include looking at the musculoskeletal system, effects of scaling due to ontogeny, ecological niche use, and animal behavior.

PhD Research: Complex form-function relationships in Basiliscus vittatus locomotion

CLARK UNIVERSITY: 2015 - Present

Advisor: Dr. Philip Bergmann


My PhD dissertation aims to explore how multiple phenotypes affect multiple performances by dissecting the relationships between interacting traits on an animal. Organisms are inherently complex systems, especially in regards to locomotion. One trait may multitask to affect several performance tasks, while many traits may redundantly affect a performance. My goal is to look at how multitasking and redundancy as an integrative whole to further analyze how these complex systems function. I am currently using Basiliscus vittatus, the brown basilisk, as my main model organism because they are dynamic generalists who are fantastic performers in many modes of locomotion including bipedal sprinting, swimming, climbing, and jumping. They also have a unique ability to run across the surface of the water, a task most organisms are not able to accomplish.

In order to examine these these relationships, I use high speed video camera techniques and digitizing, racetacks, and force plates to gather performance data from these lizards. My analytical methods include multivariate statistics and model-based statistics, with a primary focus on integrating the F-matrix approach into quantifying functional complexity.