Professor of Integrative Biology
Keywords: mechanics, controls, evolution
Research Areas: biomechanics, fluid dynamics, energetics, flight, butterflies, energetics, gliding, hummingbirds, insects, metabolism, paleophysiology
Our lab works on the biomechanics, energetics, and evolution of animal flight. Flight performance is investigated using high-speed three-dimensional videography, metabolic measurements, particle-image velocimetry, and physically-variable gas mixtures. Two current goals are to describe three-dimensional maneuvers in both hummingbirds and butterflies, and to evaluate the allometry of maximum lift and power production in Neotropical orchid bees and in hovering hummingbirds. We also fly hummingbirds in a large wind tunnel to investigate forward flight performance. Laboratory studies of flight biomechanics are complemented by fieldwork around the planet, including the ecophysiology of butterfly migrations in Panama, gliding in Southeast Asian flying lizards, hummingbird flight metabolism across elevational gradients in Peru, high-altitude adaptation in Sichuan bumblebees, and controlled aerial behavior in wingless hexapods of the Neotropical forest canopy. Research students are encouraged to ask idiosyncratic biomechanical and ecophysiological questions to which a diversity of technological and phylogenetic approaches available in the lab may be applied.
boundary layer: mechanisms and consequences. Integrative and Comparative Biology 48:119-133, 2008.