Department of Biological Sciences
342 Long Hall
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 NewsJuly 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
• Undergraduate Jenna Pruette wins Creative Inquiry presentation award and will move to graduate studies at Auburn University - congratulations Jenna!
• 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
• PhD student Vanessa Young published study in Biology Letters:
Young, V. K H., R. W. Blob. 2015. Limb-bone loading in swimming turtles: Changes in loading facilitate transitions from tubular to flipper-shaped limbs during aquatic invasions. Biology Letters 11, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0110 click here for Bio Letters journal link
• MSc student Kelly Diamond successfully defended her thesis:
" ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS ON FISH ESCAPE RESPONSES: IMPACT OF FLOW ON THE ESCAPE PERFORMANCE OF THE HAWAIIAN STREAM GOBY, SICYOPTERUS STIMPSONI"
• PhD student Christopher Mayerl won Clemson University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
• Papers published from 2014 SICB symposium (click for symposium website)
"Terrestrial Locomotion: Where Do We Stand, Where Are We Going?", co-sponsored by our lab (with Tim Higham, UC Riverside) held January 2014 in Austin, TX - click here for ICB journal link
Recent Publications (click here for full list)
• 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
• Kawano, S. M., D. R. Economy, M. S. Kennedy, D. Dean, R. W. Blob. 2016. Comparative limb bone loading in the humerus and femur of the tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum: testing the “mixed-chain” hypothesis for skeletal safety factors. Journal of Experimental Biology 219:341-353. Available HERE
• Copploe, J. V. II., R. W. Blob, J. H. A. Parrish, M. T.
2015. In vivo strains in the femur of the
nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus
novemcinctus). Journal of Morphology 276:889-899. Available HERE
• Young, V. K H., R. W. Blob. 2015. Limb-bone
loading in swimming turtles: Changes in loading facilitate transitions
from tubular to flipper-shaped limbs during aquatic invasions. Biology Letters 11, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0110. (write for PDF)
• Aiello, B. R., J. Iriarte-Diaz, R. W. Blob, M. T. Butcher, M. T. Carrano, N. R. Espinoza, R. Main, C. F. Ross. 2015. Bone strain magnitude is correlated with bone strain rate in tetrapods: implications for models of mechanotransduction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0321. (write for PDF)
• Moody, K. N., S. N. Hunter, M. J. Childress, R. W. Blob, H. L. Schoenfuss, M. J. Blum, M. B. Ptacek. 2015. Local adaptation despite high gene flow in the waterfall-climbing Hawaiian goby, Sicyopterus stimpsoni. Molecular Ecology 24:545-563. Available HERE (Featured in Molecular Ecology News and Views)
• Blob, R. W., T. E. Higham.
locomotion—where do we stand, where are we going? An introduction to the symposium. Integrative and Comparative Biology
• Blob, R. W., N. R. Espinoza, M. T. Butcher, A. H. Lee, A. R.
D’Amico, F. Baig, K. M. Sheffield. 2014. Diversity of limb bone safety factors for
locomotion in terrestrial vertebrates:
evolution and mixed chains. Integrative
and Comparative Biology 54:1058-1071.
• Maie, T., S. Furtek,
H. L. Schoenfuss, R. W. Blob. 2014.
Feeding performance and functional modulation of the Hawaiian sleeper, Eleotris sandwicensis (Gobiodei:
Eleotridae): implications for selection pressures on prey. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
• Ashley-Ross, M.A., S.
T. Hsieh, A. C. Gibb, R. W. Blob. 2013.
Vertebrate land invasions—past, present, and future: an introduction to
the symposium. Integrative and
Comparative Biology 53:192-196.
• Cullen, J. A., T. Maie, H. L. Schoenfuss, R. W. Blob. 2013. Evolutionary novelty versus exaptation: Oral kinematics in feeding versus climbing in the waterfall-climbing Hawaiian goby Sicyopterus stimpsoni. PLoS One 8: e53274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053274. Available HERE
• Kawano, S. M., R. W. Blob. 2013. Propulsive forces of mudskipper fins and salamander limbs during terrestrial locomotion: implications for the invasion of land. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53:283-294. Available HERE