Biomechanical Motions

Collaborator: Peter C. Wainwright Biomechanical models are important tools for understanding the functional implications of morphological evolution. It is therefore vital to employ effective methods for capturing the diversity of motions that the underlying mechanical systems generate. For this research, we focused on a commonly used model for studying the mechanics of oral jaws in…

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Pectoral Dimorphism in Skates

Collaborators: Michael G. Frisk, Peter C. Wainwright, Bryan Kao, John S. Sparks, F. James Rohlf   Skates are a diverse group of batoid fishes, comprising over 300 recognized species. A number of these species display a form of sexual dimorphism in which mature males a achieve what has been referred to as a ‘bell-shaped’ body.…

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Evolution of Feeding Motions

Collaborators: Matthew G. McGee; Samuel R. Borstein; Peter C. Wainwright A major axis of feeding diversity in ray-finned fishes concerns a trade-off between force application and the speed at which the jaw can open and expand. Furthermore, a complex feeding apparatus, consisting of numerous mobile components, has allowed fishes to occupy a variety of trophic…

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Phylogeography of Cenote Fishes

Collaborators: Jairo Arroyave (UNAM), C. Patricia Ornales-García (UNAM) & Elizabeth S. Alter (York College) This newly established research project takes me to the land of the Mayans, the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico (Fig. 1). The karstic landscape of the peninsula was formed by the dissolution of an underlying limestone platform, resulting in a region devoid of…

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Body-Jaw Evolution in Cichlids

Collaborator: John S. Sparks (AMNH) For biomechanical systems consisting of multiple parts, different morphological configurations can often achieve the same functional output. This is known as many-to-one mapping (MTOM) of form to function and it has potential to influence the distribution and nature of morphological diversification within clades. In cichlids, and many other ancanthomorph fishes,…

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Jaw Diversity of Deep-Sea Fishes

Collaborators: John Sparks (AMNH), Peter Wainwright (UC Davis), Leo Smith (U. Kansas) & Matt Davis (St. Cloud U.) Stomiiforms are an order of deep-sea fishes that include the dragonfishes (e.g., Fig. 1), hatchetfishes, lightfishes, and bristlemouths. Most species are light-producing (Fig. 2), and have diets varying from small planktonic invertebrates to other fishes. With the…

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Batoid Pectoral Fin Diversity

Collaborators: F. James Rohlf (Stony Brook) & Michael G. Frisk (Stony Brook) Enlarged pectoral fins are a major feature of body plan evolution in batoid fishes (i.e., skates, rays, and their relatives), and provide the primary means of propulsion for most species (Fig. 1). Consequently, variation in pectoral fin shape is closely related to patterns…

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