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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 is finishing her MSc at Clemson University (2015). She will be starting her Ph.D. at Clemson University in the Blob lab in fall 2015. 
         
            Research
             • For her MSc, Kelly is investigating how environmental conditions impact predator prey interactions in the Hawaiian Goby Sicyopterus                     stimpsoni. 
             • See Kelly's website for more details
           Honors
             • 2014 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research
             • 2014 Clemson Biological Sciences Graduate Student Association Commitment to Student Research Award

 CHRISTOPHER MAYERL
        Christopher earned his BS at Humboldt State University (2011), and his MSc 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.
           Honors
            • 2015 Company of Biologists Travel 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


 VANESSA YOUNG
        Vanessa earned her BS at Erskine College (2010) and MSc at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (2012). 

    Research
     • Vanessa's dissertation examines biomechanics associated with locomotion in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The goals of this project are     to build an understanding of the mechanism for morphological change in limb bone shape in secondarily aquatic vertebrates. 
    Honors
     • 2015 Sarah Bradley Tyson Fellowship
     • 2015 Theodore Roosevelt Grant from the American Museum of Natural History
     • 2015 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Grants-in-Aid of Research
     • 2014 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Graduate Teaching Award of Merit
     • 2014 Clemson University Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
     • 2014 Clemson University College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award
   
           Lab Publications

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)


Lab Alumni


Postdoctoral

MICHAEL BUTCHER (2006-2008)
  • Now Associate Professor at Youngstown State University
  • Mike's website


    Lab Research
    • Comparative locomotor loading mechanics of turtle and opossum hindlimbs


    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

• 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)
  • Now a Postdoctoral Fellow at NIMBIOS
  • See Sandy's website for more details!
   
    Dissertation

    •
"Evaluation of the functional capabilities of fins and limbs for moving on land: insights into the invasion of land by tetrapods"
   
    Further lab research

    • Sandy also has extensive experience using studies of morphological selection to evaluate functional tradeoffs across waterfall climbing species     of gobiid fishes
   

    Honors
    • 2014 ASIH Gaige Award, Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research
    • 2013 SVP Estes Award
    • 2013 Clemson University Outstanding Graduate Research Award
    • 2011, 2012 Clemson Wade Stackhouse Fellowship
    • 2011 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching Award
    • 2010 ASIH Raney award
    • 2010 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research


    Lab Publications

• 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)
   • Now Assistant Professor at Lynchburg College

  • Takashi's webpage at ResearchGate
  • Takashi also earned his MSc in my lab at Clemson (2007).  

    Dissertation
    •
"Functional morphology and performance of ecological systems with extreme pressures : waterfall climbing and predator-prey
       interaction in amphidromous gobioid fishes"

    Thesis
    • 
"Feeding performance in Hawaiian stream goby fishes: morphological and functional analysis" 
 
   Honors

     • 2009, 2010 Clemson Anderson Fellowship
     • 2007 ASIH Raney award


    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. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084851.
  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)

  • Now visiting faculty at Creighton University
  • See Angie's website for more details!

    Dissertation
    "Comparative forelimb muscle function in turtles: tests of environmental variation and neuromotor conservation
"

    Honors
    • AAUW Postdoctoral Fellowship
    • SSAR Best student presentation in Physiology, Morphology & Systematics
    • 2008, 2009, 2010 Clemson Wade Stackhouse Fellowship 

    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




GABRIEL RIVERA (2009)

  • Now Assistant Professor at Creighton University
  • Gabe's Google Scholar page

    Dissertation
    "Hydrodynamics of freshwater turtles: maneuverability, stability, and effects of shell shape"


    Honors
    • 2008 Clemson RC Edwards Graduate Achievement Fellowship

    • SICB Division of Comparative Biomechanics Student Representative
       

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


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


    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