Evolutionary Morphology and Biomechanics Laboratory

Department of Biological Sciences 342 Long Hall

Clemson University

Clemson, SC 29634

Our lab studies the diversity and evolution of animal function. We are interested in questions about:

• How animals (and their parts) work

• How the ways that animals work affect their ability to survive

• How animal function varies to meet the demands of different environments

• How animal function has diversified and changed through evolution

To answer these questions, most of our research examines vertebrate muscle and bone function during locomotion, with a major focus on reptiles (especially turtles and alligators), amphibians, and fishes. Other work includes studies of fish feeding, vertebrate paleontology, and the mechanics and evolution of deer antler.

We use a wide range of techniques in these studies, drawing on experimental biomechanics (high-speed video, strain, EMG, force platforms, mechanical property testing), morphometrics (allometry, mechanical models of recent and fossil specimens), phylogenetic comparative methods, and field sampling.

Current Lab News

April 2020

• David Munteanu defended his masters thesis and is staying in the lab as a PhD student!

December 2019

  • Kelly Diamond successfully defended her dissertation and is moving to a postdoc at Seattle Children's Hospital, and Amanda Palecek-McClung completed her masters and is moving on to her PhD in the lab - Congratulations Kelly and Amanda!

August 2019

  • Dani Adams joins the lab as a PhD student, co-advised by Dr Sam Price!

June 2019

  • Masaya Iijima joins the lab as a Postdoctoral researcher!

August 2018

• Chase Kinsey joined the lab as a Phd student!

May 2018

• Christopher Mayerl successfully defended his dissertation and is starting a postdoc at NEOMED!

August 2017

• Amanda Palecek-McClung joined the lab as a masters in route to PhD student and David Munteanu joined the lab as a masters student!

May 2017

• Vanessa Young successfully defended her dissertation and started as an assistant professor at St. Mary's College!

July 2016

• Collaborative biorobotic study of locomotor tail use by models for early vertebrate invaders of land published in Science:

McInroe, B., H. C. Astley, C. Gong, S. M. Kawano, P. E. Schiebel, J. M. Rieser, H. Choset, R. W. Blob, D. I. Goldman. 2016. Tail use improves performance on soft substrates in models of early land locomotors. Science 353:154-158. Available HERE

(Perspectives commentary available HERE)

(Clemson video release available HERE)

April 2016

• Undergraduate Jenna Pruette wins Creative Inquiry presentation award and will move to graduate studies at Auburn University - congratulations Jenna!

February 2016

• XROMM study of turtle locomotion by PhD student Christopher Mayerl with collaborator Beth Brainerd (Brown University) highlighted in NSF feature on biomechanics research click here for link

Recent Publications (click here for full list)