Photo by Lia Brands


6-28-13: I received a Wade Stackhouse Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year!

5-13-13: I received the BSGSA Researcher award, Clemson University Outstanding Graduate Researcher award, and the Clemson University Distinguished Graduate Research Assistant award! 

4-30-13: Our international collaboration on the effects of feeding on escape responses is available online!

4-16-13:  The 1st chapter of my dissertation has been accepted to Integrative and Comparative Biology!

4-2-13: The FHL project I collaborated with has been accepted to Integrative and Comparative Biology!

I've moved my website to: http://sandykawano.weebly.com/

Please follow me there!

I'm an integrative biologist interested in the evolutionary ecology of phenotypic diversification.  To understand the patterns and processes associated with phenotypic and functional diversity, I have used a combination of biomechanics, morphology, behavior, and selection analyses in both the field and lab to evaluate the diversity of feeding and locomotor modes in a variety of animal systems (e.g. fish, amphibians, invertebrates).  

Some of my main interests include:
  • how do environmental factors shape phenotype and performance?
  • to what extent are patterns of phenotypic diversification context-dependent?
  • how do these patterns change when organisms are faced with novel conditions?

My undergraduate research experiences (See Lab and Field tab and CV) spurred my interest in evaluating how ecological and evolutionary history can influence morphology, behavior and performance, and how these patterns change when organisms are faced with novel pressures.  As an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, I became interested in the generalist-specialist paradigm, and was fascinated by the factors that caused specialists to act like generalists after reading about Liem's Paradox.  This interest served as an impetus for evaluating the water-to-land transition in vertebrate evolution because organisms that were supposedly specialized for aquatic life were then faced with drastically different environmental properties.  How does an organism specialized for a particular environment respond to another environment that presents very different challenges?  How does the functional role of its musculoskeletal system change in response to or accommodate these environmental differences?  Through my PhD program at Clemson University, I have been involved in various projects that evaluate how the locomotor performance of fishes and amphibians is related to the biotic and abiotic characteristics of their environment, and how particular morphological features contribute to these performances.

See the rest of my website to learn more about some of the research I am involved in.

Thanks for stopping by!