What is is about form? It does not take a functional morphologist to note the amazing array of jaw shapes present in nature; from the simple and familiar basses to the robust-jawed sharks and the delicately long-jawed butterflyfish. Through my research I am trying to understand why there is such a diversity in shape or form within the group of organisms we call "fishes". My own research is centered around questions that attempt to broadly address: 1) the evolution of novel and/or specialized forms, 2) the biomechanical or performance consequence of changes in form; and; 3) how form, typically by interacting with other physiological, behavioral, or genetic variables, affects and can be used to predict functional ecological relationships. While the form, or feature, we investigate most is the jaws, we are not limited to only the study of jaws in my laboratory.
How did I get into this field? My training is pretty diverse. I received my BS degree in Biology from Cal Poly State University at San Luis Obispo. From there I went off to get a MS degree in Marine Science from San Francisco State University. I completed my PhD in Biology at the University of California Irvine in the Comparative Physiology Graduate Group, followed by a Post Doctoral Associateship at UC Davis in the Center for Population Biology. Then, for a period of time, I was a part of the research faculty at Moss Landing Marine Labs (MLML)/San Jose State University and, during the summers, at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs.
In Fall of 2010, I joined ASU and I am now a Professor in the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences (within the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences). This means I teach (this link should take you to the 'courses' tab on my ASU directory page), and conduct research. My research is within the field called Functional Morphology, the study of organism structure (i.e., anatomy) and function (e.g., how it works in a particular context). If you'd like to know more about what I have done in my past research, please check out my publications. If you'd like to know what we are up to now, read about our collaborations, stop by the lab, or, follow the links to the left.
I am also involved in a new and incredibly innovative teaching program called ProMod, or Project-Based Modular Learning. I head up the program in New College, called AHEAD. A main objective of ProMod is to put research-based experiences or projects into the classroom and into the learning process, while simultaneously integrating the classroom content into modules focused around the projects. We are using a Pre-Health model for our first outing with this modality, however, look for more opportunities soon!