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Current Graduate Students
(click here for information about the CU BioSci graduate program)


  KELLY DIAMOND
        Kelly earned her BS at University of Central Florida (2013), and her MS at Clemson University (2015).
            Research
             • Kelly is investigating how environmental conditions impact predator prey interactions in a group of stream goby fishes
             • See Kelly's website for more details
           Honors
             • 2017 Clemson University Biological Sciences Annual Student Symposium Best Oral Presentation
             • 2017 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Fellowship of Graduate Student travel
             • 2017 Clemson Biological Sciences Graduate Student Association Commitment to Service Award
             • 2016 American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Edward C. Raney Award 
             • 2014 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research
             • 2014 Clemson Biological Sciences Graduate Student Association Commitment to Student Research Award
           Lab Publications
                Taft, N.K., Taft, B.N., Henck, H., Diamond, K.M., Schoenfuss, H.L., Blob, R.W.  2017. Comparative morphology and mechanical properties of the                               lepidotrichia of climbing and non-climbing Hawaiian gobioid fishes. Cybium 276:889-899. Available HERE
                • Diamond, K.M., Schoenfuss, H.L., Walker, J.A., Blob, R.W.   2016.  Flowing water affects fish fast-starts: escape performance of the Hawaiian stream                       goby, Sicyopterus stimpsoni.  Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 3100-3105Available HERE

 CHRISTOPHER MAYERL
        Christopher earned his BS at Humboldt State University (2011), and his MS at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (2013).
           Research
            • Christopher's dissertation is focused on the functional morphology of pleurodire turtles, and how the fusion of the pelvis to the bottom                   part of the shell in these animals may have influenced their habitat use and locomotor performance.
             See Christopher's website for more details
           Honors
            • 2016 Carl Gans Collections and Charitable Trust Travel grant
            • 2016 Alfred “Hap” Wheeler Distinguished Biological Sciences Graduate Student Association Member Award
            • 2016 Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Grant in Aid of Research
            • 2015 Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research Grant
           
• 2015 Clemson University Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
            • 2015 Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
            • 2014 Society for Experimental Biology annual meeting Best Poster Award (3rd place)
            • 2014 Clemson University Biological Sciences Annual Student Symposium Best Oral Presentation
            • 2013 Clemson University Alumni Fellowship
           Lab Publications
               • Mayerl, C.J. and Blob, R.W.  2017.  A novel, bounding gain in swimming turtles: implications for aquatic locomotor evolution. Journal of Experimental                         Biology, 220, 3611-3615Available HERE
               • Mayerl, C.J., Pruett, J.E., Summerlin, M.N., Rivera, A.R.V., and Blob, R.W.  2017.  Hindlimb muscle function in turtles: is novel skeletal design correlated                  with novel muscle function? Journal of Experimental Biology, 220: 2554-2562Available HERE
               • Blob, R.W., Mayerl, C.J., Rivera, A.R.V., Rivera, G., and Young, V.KH. 2016.  
“On the fence” versus “all in”: 
insights from turtles for the evolution of                             aquatic locomotor specializations and habitat 
transitions in tetrapod vertebrates. 
Integrative and Comparative Biology, 56: 1310-1322. Available HERE
               • Mayerl, C.J., Brainerd, E.L., and Blob, R.W.   2016.  
Pelvic girdle mobility of cryptodire and pleurodire 
turtles during walking and swimming
Journal of                     Experimental Biology 219: 2650-2658Available HERE

  V. DAVID MUNTEANU 
        David earned his BS at Bucknell University (2014). He started his MS at Clemson University in Fall 2017.
            Research
             • David’s research focuses on differences in bone strain and morphology with regard to different locomotor modes. His MS project                             investigates bone strain in green iguanas during level, inclined, and compliant surface locomotion
           Honors
             • 2014  Karl Liem Award for Best Student Presentation in the Department of Vertebrate Morphology at the annual meeting of The Society of                 Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) in Austin, Texas.

  AMANDA PALECEK-McCLUNG
         Amanda earned her BS at University of Akron (2015). She started her MS at Clemson University in Fall 2017.
            Research
             • Amanda's master's thesis will be focusing on comparing the locomotor biomechanics of birds wading in water vs. terrestrial walking in                      flamingos!
           • See Amanda's website for more details
           Honors
           • 2015 Phi Sigma Alpha Honorary Society



Lab Alumni


Postdoctoral

MICHAEL BUTCHER (2006-2008)
  • Associate Professor at Youngstown State University
  • See Mike's website for current projects and updates

    Lab Research
    
 Comparative locomotor loading mechanics of turtle and opossum hindlimbs
    Lab Publications
    • Copploe, J. V. II., R. W. Blob, J. H. A. Parrish, M. T. Butcher.  2015.  In vivo strains in the femur of the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus).  Journal       of Morphology 276:889-899. Available HERE
    
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.
Available HERE

    • Aiello, B. R., R. W. Blob, M. T. Butcher.  2013.  Correlation of muscle function and bone strain in the hindlimb of the river cooter turtle (Pseudemys concinna).           Journal of Morphology 274:1060-1069.  Available HERE
    Butcher, M. T., B. J. White, N. B. Hudzik, W. C. Gosnell, J. H. A. Parrish, R. W. Blob. 2011. In vivo strains in the femur of the Virginia opossum (Didelphis                  virginiana) during terrestrial locomotion: testing hypotheses of evolutionary shifts in mammalian bone loading and design. Journal of Experimental Biology 214:          2631-2640.  Available HERE
    • Gosnell, W. C., M. T. Butcher, T. Maie, R. W. Blob.  2011.  Femoral loading mechanics in the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana): torsion and mediolateral          bending in mammalian locomotion.  Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 3455-3466.
  Available HERE
     Butcher, M. T. and Blob, R. W.  2008.  Mechanics of limb bone loading during terrestrial locomotion in river cooter turtles (Pseudemys concinna).  Journal of              Experimental Biology 211: 1187-1202. Available HERE (corregendium)
     Butcher, M. T., Espinoza, N. R., Cirilo, S. R., Blob, R. W.  2008.  In vivo strains in the femur of river cooter turtles (Pseudemys concinna) during terrestrial                  locomotion: tests of force-platform models of loading mechanics.  Journal of Experimental Biology 211: 2397-2407. Available HERE

PhD

SANDY KAWANO (2014)
  • Assistant Professorship at California State University, Long Beach
  • See Sandy's website for current projects and updates
    Dissertation

    •
Evaluation of the functional capabilities of fins and limbs for moving on land: insights into the invasion of land by tetrapods
    Lab Publications
    • 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
    • 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
    • Kawano, S. M., W. C. Bridges, H. L. Schoenfuss, T. Maie, R. W. Blob.  2013. Differences in locomotor behavior correspond to different patterns of linear and           nonlinear morphological selection in two species of waterfall-climbing gobiid fishes.  Evolutionary Ecology 27:949-969.
Available HERE
    • Schoenfuss, H. L., T. Maie, S. M. Kawano, R. W. Blob.  2011.  Performance across extreme environments: comparing waterfall climbing among amphidromous       gobioid fishes from Caribbean and Pacific islands.  Cybium 35:361-369.  Available HERE
    • Blob, R. W., S. M. Kawano, K. N. Moody, W. C. Bridges, T. Maie, M. B. Ptacek, M. L. Julius, H. L. Schoenfuss.  2010.  Morphological selection and the                      evaluation of potential tradeoffs between escape from predators and the climbing of waterfalls in the Hawaiian stream goby Sicyopterus stimpsoni.  Integrative          and Comparative Biology 50: 1185-1199.  Available HERE


TAKASHI MAIE (2013)
   • Assistant Professor at Lynchburg College

  • Takashi's webpage at ResearchGate for current projects and updates
    Dissertation (2013)
    •
Functional morphology and performance of ecological systems with extreme pressures : waterfall climbing and predator-prey
       interaction in amphidromous gobioid fishes

    Thesis (2007)
    • 
 Feeding performance in Hawaiian stream goby fishes: morphological and functional analysis 
    Lab Publications
    • 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 111:359-374.  Available HERE
    • 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
    Maie, T., H. L. Schoenfuss, R. W. Blob.  2013.  Musculoskeletal determinants of pelvic sucker function in Hawaiian stream gobiid fishes: interspecific                          comparisons and allometric scaling.  Journal of Morphology 733-742. Available HERE
    • Schoenfuss, H. L., T. Maie, K. N. Moody, K. E. Lesteberg, R. W. Blob, T. C. Schoenfuss.  2013.  Stairway to heaven:  evaluating levels of biological organization       correlated with the successful ascent of natural waterfalls in the Hawaiian stream goby, Sicyopterus stimpsoni.  PLoS One 8: e84851. Available HERE
    • Leonard, G., T. Maie, K. Moody, G. Schrank, R.W. Blob, H. L. Schoenfuss.  2012.  Finding paradise: cues directing the migration of the waterfall climbing                  Hawaiian gobioid fish Sicyopterus stimpsoni.  Journal of Fish Biology 81:903-920.  Available HERE
    Maie, T., H. L. Schoenfuss, R. W. Blob.  2012.  Performance and scaling of a novel locomotor structure:  adhesive capacity of climbing gobiid fishes.  Journal of         Experimental Biology 215:3925-3936. Available HERE (Featured Inside JEB)
    Maie, T., A. B. Meister, G. L. Leonard, G. D. Schrank, R. W. Blob, H. L. Schoenfuss.  2011. Jaw muscle fiber type distribution in Hawaiian gobioid stream fishes:        histochemical correlations with feeding ecology and behavior. Zoology (Jena) 114:340-347.  Available HERE
    
Gosnell, W. C., M. T. Butcher, T. Maie, R. W. Blob.  2011.  Femoral loading mechanics in the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana): torsion and mediolateral           bending in mammalian locomotion.  Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 3455-3466.
 
Available HERE
    • Schoenfuss, H. L., T. Maie, S. M. Kawano, R. W. Blob. 2011. Performance across extreme environments: comparing waterfall climbing among amphidromous          gobioid fishes from Caribbean and Pacific islands.  Cybium 35:361-369.
  Available HERE
    • Blob, R. W., S. M. Kawano, K. N. Moody, W. C. Bridges, T. Maie, M. B. Ptacek, M. L. Julius, H. L. Schoenfuss. 2010. Morphological selection and the evaluation       of potential tradeoffs between escape from predators and the climbing of waterfalls in the Hawaiian stream goby Sicyopterus stimpsoni.  Integrative and                  Comparative Biology 50: 1185-1199.  Available HERE 
    Maie, T., M. P. Wilson, H. L. Schoenfuss, R. W. Blob.  2009.  Feeding kinematics and performance of Hawaiian stream gobies, Awaous guamensis and Lentipes       concolor:  linkage of functional morphology and ecology. Journal of Morphology 270: 344-356. Available HERE
    Maie, T., H. L. Schoenfuss, R. W. Blob2009.  Jaw lever analysis of Hawaiian gobioid stream fishes: a simulation study of morphological diversity and functional       performance.  Journal of Morphology 270: 976-983. Available HERE
    Blob, R. W., W. C. Bridges, T. Maie, R. A. Cediel, M. M. Bertolas, M. B. Ptacek, M. L. Julius, H. L. Schoenfuss.  2008.  Morphological selection in an extreme          flow environment:  body shape and waterfall-climbing success in the Hawaiian stream fish Sicyopterus stimpsoni.  Integrative and Comparative Biology 48: 
      734-749.  Available HERE (corregendium)
    • Maie, T., H. L. Schoenfuss, and R. W. Blob.  2007.  Ontogenetic scaling of body proportions in waterfall-climbing gobiid fishes from Hawai’i and Dominica:                implications for locomotor function.  Copeia 2007: 756-765. Available HERE

ANGELA RIVERA (2011)

  • Visiting faculty at Creighton University
  • See Angie's website for current projects and updates
    Dissertation
    Comparative forelimb muscle function in turtles: tests of environmental variation and neuromotor conservation

    Lab Publications 
    Rivera, A. R. V., G. Rivera, R. W. Blob.  2013.  Forelimb kinematics during swimming in the pig-nosed turtle, Carettochelys insculpta, compared with other turtle       taxa: rowing versus flapping, convergence versus intermediacy. Journal of Experimental Biology 216:668-680.  Available HERE
    Rivera, A. R. V., R. W. Blob.  2013.  Forelimb muscle function in pig-nosed turtles, Carettochelys insculpta: testing neuromotor conservation between rowing           and flapping in swimming turtles.  Biology Letters 9:20130471.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2013.0471. 
Available HERE
    Rivera, A. R. V., J. Davis, W. Grant, R. W. Blob, E. Peterson, A. Neiman, M. Rowe.  2012.  Quantifying utricular stimulation during natural behavior.  Journal of          Experimental Zoology A 317A:467-480 Available HERE
    • Rivera, A. R. V., J. Wyneken, R. W. Blob.  2011.  Forelimb kinematics and motor patterns of swimming loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta): are      motor patterns conserved in the evolution of new locomotor strategies?  Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 3314-3323.  Available HERE
    • Rivera, G., A. R. V. Rivera, R. W. Blob.  2011. Hydrodynamic stability of the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta): effects of four-limbed rowing versus forelimb                 flapping in rigid-bodied tetrapods.  Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 1153-1162.  Available HERE
    • Rivera, A. R. V., R. W. Blob.  2010.  Forelimb kinematics and motor patterns of the slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) during swimming and                  walking: shared and novel strategies for meeting locomotor demands of water and land.  Journal of Experimental Biology 213: 3515-3528.                  Available HERE
    • Schoenfuss, H. L., J. D. Roos, A. R. V. Rivera, R. W. Blob.  2010.  Motor patterns of distal hind limb muscles in walking turtles: implications for models of limb          bone loading.  Journal of Morphology 271: 1527-1536.  Available HERE
    • Blob, R. W., A. R. V. Rivera, M. W. Westneat.  2008.  Hindlimb function in turtle locomotion:  limb movements and muscular activation across taxa, environment,       and ontogeny.  Chapter 6 in J. Wyneken, M. H. Godfrey, and V. Bels, (eds.), Biology of Turtles, CRC Press, pp. 139-162. Available HERE
    • Rivera, G., Rivera, A. R. V., Dougherty, E. E., Blob, R. W.  2006.  Aquatic turning performance of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) and functional                              consequences of a rigid body design.  Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 4203-4213. Available HERE
    • Young, V.KH., Vest, K.G., Rivera, A.R.V., Espinoza, N.R., Blob, R.W. 2017. One foot out the door: limb function during swimming in terrestrial versus aquatic               turtles. Biology Letters, 13: 20160732 Available HERE

GABRIEL RIVERA (2009)

  • Assistant Professor at Creighton University
  • See Gabe's Google Scholar page for current projects and updates
    Dissertation
    Hydrodynamics of freshwater turtles: maneuverability, stability, and effects of shell shape

Lab Publications
    • Rivera, A. R. V., G. Rivera, R. W. Blob.  2013.  Forelimb kinematics during swimming in the pig-nosed turtle, Carettochelys insculpta, compared with other turtle       taxa: rowing versus flapping, convergence versus intermediacy. Journal of Experimental Biology 216:668-680.  Available HERE
    • Rivera, G., A. R. V. Rivera, R. W. Blob.  2011. Hydrodynamic stability of the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta): effects of four-limbed rowing versus forelimb                 flapping in rigid-bodied tetrapods.  Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 1153-1162.  Available HERE
    • Dougherty, E. E., G. Rivera, R. W. Blob, J. Wyneken.  2010.  A comparison of stability in swimming loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas)          sea turtle posthatchlings. Zoology (Jena) 113: 158-167.  Available HERE
    • Gosnell, J. S., G. Rivera, R. W. Blob.  2009.  A phylogenetic analysis of sexual size dimorphism in turtles.  Herpetologica 65: 70-81. Available HERE
    • Blob, R. W., G. Rivera.  2008.  Going with the flow:  ecomorphological variation across aquatic flow regimes:  an introduction to the symposium.  Integrative and       Comparative Biology 48: 699-701Available HERE
    Rivera, G., Rivera, A. R. V., Dougherty, E. E., Blob, R. W.  2006.  Aquatic turning performance of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) and functional consequences       of a rigid body design.  Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 4203-4213. Available HERE

VANESSA YOUNG (2017)
  • Assistant Professor at St. Mary's College
  • See Vanessa's website for current projects and updates
    Dissertation
    • Secondary land to water transitions: turtles as models for understanding morphological evolution
    Lab Publications
    • Young, V.KH., Vest, K.G., Rivera, A.R.V., Espinoza, N.R., Blob, R.W. 2017. One foot out the door: limb function during swimming in terrestrial versus aquatic               turtles. Biology Letters, 13: 20160732 Available HERE
    • Young, V. K H.  2017. Humeral loads during swimming and walking in turtles: implications for morphological change during aquatic reinvasions. Journal of                   Experimental Biology 220:3873-3877. 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.2015.0110Available HERE

MSc


 CASEY GOSNELL (2010)
  • Now with National Marine Fisheries Service
    Thesis
     Femoral loading mechanics in Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana): torsion and mediolateral bending in mammalian parasagittal locomotion

     Lab Publications
    • Gosnell, W. C., M. T. Butcher, T. Maie, R. W. Blob.  2011.  Femoral loading mechanics in the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana): torsion and mediolateral          bending in mammalian locomotion.  Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 3455-3466.  Available HERE

 MEGAN SHEFFIELD (2008)
  • Now Science Librarian at Clemson University
  • Megan's website for 
current projects and updates
    Thesis
    Loading mechanics in femora of tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) and tegu lizards (Tupinambis merianae): implications for the
       evolution of limb bone design

    Lab Publications
    • 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. Available HERE
    Sheffield, K. M., R. W. Blob. 2011. Loading mechanics of the femur in tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) during terrestrial locomotion. Journal of                   Experimental Biology 214: 2603-2615.  Available HERE
    Sheffield, K. M., M. T. Butcher, S. K. Shugart, J. C. Gander, R. W. Blob. 2011.  Locomotor loading mechanics in the hindlimbs of tegu lizards (Tupinambis                merianae): comparative and evolutionary implications. Journal of Experimental  Biology 214: 2616-2630.  Available HERE
    Blob, R. W., Wright, K. M, Becker, M, Maie, T., Iverson, T. J., Julius, M. L., Schoenfuss, H. L.  2007.  Ontogenetic change in novel functions: waterfall climbing in       adult Hawaiian gobiid fishes.  Journal of Zoology 273:200-209.  Available HERE