Researchers formerly based at the Concord Field Station
Chris Richards was a graduate student at CFS from 2003 to 2009 working on muscle function in swimming frogs. Currently, he is a Jr. Fellow at Harvard's Rowland Institute developing 'musculo-robotic' instruments for exploring how a muscle's loading environment (e.g. air vs. water) influences its mechanical behavior.
Website: Chris Richards
Research interests: I am interested in characterizing and evaluating musculoskeletal performance in terrestrial mammals during nonsteady behaviors such as accelerating, decelerating, turning and dodging. To achieve this, I have developed portable data logging instruments to record data from animals running and turning freely in the field. I first used force plates to characterize the mechanics of turning 90 degree corners, then collected inertial sensor data to quantify performance of natural turning movements. Eventually, I would like to combine these techniques with in vivo muscle strain and activation measurements in order to investigate muscle function during rigorous movements such as dodging and turning.
Moreno, C. A., Main, R. P. and Biewener, A. A. (2008). Variability in forelimb bone strains during non-steady locomotor activities in goats. J. Exp. Biol. 211(7), 1148-1162.
Angela M. Berg Robertson
Angela M. Berg Robertson was a graduate stuedent at CFS from 2004 to 2010, where she studied the biomechanics of avian flight - from kinematics to aerodynamics to muscle function. She is now at the University of Houston, applying her experience studying muscle function to a vareity of contexts in human movement, including: gait transitions; balance evaluation; back injury in instrumentalists; and motor control in astronauts.
Website: Angie Robertson
Research interests: I am interested in climbing mechanics in goats and the biomechanics of horn impacts during head butting behaviors. I employ experimental approaches as well as finite-element analysis to investigate the consequences of these behaviors on bone and horn design.
Research interests: I study swimming and flight in nature and use my understanding of how animals and plants move through water and air as an inspiration for designing micro vehicles.
At the Concord Field Station I study how birds are able to keep their balance during manoeuvering flight. In this study I try to understand what the control demands are for the birds' motor and sensory apparatus to fly stable and manoeuvre well. My goal is to combine theoretical and experimental techniques to find out how flight mechanics, aerodynamics, muscle physiology and the sensor modalities together mediate flight stability and manoeuvrability.
I am also affiliated with the Experimental Zoology Group at Wageningen University, where I am an assistant professor working on fish swimming, the flight of birds (swifts and hummingbirds), insects (flies) and autorotating seeds (maple seeds). My insect flight research has inspired me to develop a flapping micro air vehicle and a morphing micro plane together with bachelor students.
Lentink, D.; Müller, U.K.; Stamhuis, E.J.; Kat, R. de; Gestel, W.J.H. van; Veldhuis, L.L.M.; Henningsson, P.; Hedenström, A.; Videler, J.J.; Leeuwen, J.L. van (2007). How swifts control their glide performance with morphing wings. Nature 446, 1082 - 1085.
Timothy E. Higham
Research Interests: My integrative research stems from the observations that vertebrates exhibit extensive diversity in their locomotor and feeding systems, and exploit a wide variety of habitats. Thus, the physiological mechanisms underlying locomotion and feeding have been modified over major evolutionary transitions in vertebrate ecology. I integrate muscle physiology, functional morphology and biomechanics to elucidate the mechanisms underlying feeding and locomotion in vertebrates. Coupling these approaches with an ecological and comparative perspective enables me to study various aspects of evolutionary adaptation. Experimental techniques that I employ include digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV), electromyography (EMG), sonomicrometry, high-speed digital video recordings, and in vivo pressure recordings. See my website for more information.
Higham, T. E., Biewener, A. A. and Wakeling, J. M. (2008) Functional diversification within and between muscles synergists during locomotion. Biol. Letters 4(1), 41-44.
Higham, T. E. (2007) The integration of locomotion and prey capture in vertebrates: Morphology, behavior and performance. Integ. Comp. Biol. 47(1), 82-95.
Higham, T. E. (2007) Feeding, fins and braking maneuvers: locomotion during prey capture in centrarchid fishes. J. Exp. Biol. 210(1), 107-117.
Higham, T. E., Hulsey, C. D., Rican O. and Carroll, A. M. (2007) Feeding with speed: prey capture evolution in cichlids. J. Evol. Biol. 20(1), 70-78.
Higham, T. E., Day, S. W. and Wainwright, P. C. (2006) The pressures of suction feeding: the relation between buccal pressure and induced fluid speed in centrarchid fishes. J. Exp. Biol. 209(17), 3281-3287.
Higham, T. E., Day, S. W. and Wainwright, P. C. (2006) Multidimensional analysis of suction feeding performance in fishes: fluid speed, acceleration, strike accuracy and the ingested volume of water. J. Exp. Biol. 209(14), 2713-2725.
Higham, T. E., Malas, B., Jayne, B. C. and Lauder, G. V. (2005) Constraints on starting and stopping: behavior compensates for reduced pectoral fin area during braking of the bluegill sunfish Lepomis macrochirus. J. Exp. Biol. 208(24), 4735-4746.
Andrew M. Carroll
Research interests: My interests are primarily musculoskeletal function and design: how muscles function during behaviors, and how selection has shaped vertebrate morphology and physiology. Specifically, I am interested in how muscles meet the loading and strain requirements imposed by behaviors and how their ability to do so is influenced by anatomical context. Current projects involve investigating differential function in the uni and bi-articular heads of the triceps brachii in goats.
Carroll A. M. and Wainwright P. C. (in press) Muscle function and power output during suction feeding in largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides. Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry Part A: Integrative and molecular physiology.
Carroll A. M., Wainwright P. C., Huskey S. H., Collar D. C. and Turingan R. G. (2004) Morphology predicts suction feeding performance in centrarchid fishes. J. Exp. Biol. 207(22), 3873-81.
Carroll, A. M. (2004) Muscle activation and strain during suction feeding in the largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides. J. Exp. Biol. 207(6), 983-991.
Carroll, A. M., and Wainwright, P. C. (2003) Functional morphology of prey capture in the sturgeon, Scaphirhynchus albus. J. Morph. 256(3), 270-284.
Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Concord Field Station, David is now an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Research interests: Running quadrupeds are extraordinary dynamic systems capable of fast progression, large accelerations, climbing, descending and jumping in complex terrain. Evidence from the natural diversity of quadruped body design and locomotor performance, as well as lessons from attempts to engineer legged robots with animal-like running abilities, suggest that there is more to quadruped design than four generalized legs attached to a long body. My primary interests lie in the relationship between body design and running dynamics. I have focused on effects of mass distribution, limb length, and limb geometry during both steady and non-steady locomotion, combining experimental measurements with dynamic simulations. My current work examines individual joint dynamics in the context of whole-limb and whole-body dynamics using goats (rough-terrain specialists) and dogs (speed and endurance runners).
Lee, D. V., Stakebake, E. F., Walter, R. M. and Carrier, D. R. (2004) Effects of mass distribution on the mechanics of level trotting in dogs. J Exp Biol 207, 1715-28
Lee, D. V., Walter, R. M., Deban, S. M. and Carrier, D. R. (2001) Influence of increased rotational inertia on the turning performance of humans. J. Exp. Biol. 204, 3927-3934
Lee, D. V., Bertram, J. E. A. and Todhunter, R. J. (1999) Acceleration and balance in trotting dogs. J. Exp. Biol.202, 3565-3573
M. Polly McGuigan
Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Concord Field Station, Polly is now a lecturer in the Department of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Bath in the UK.
Research interests: My research to date has focused on two main themes: objective biomechanical studies of lameness and its treatment in a clinical setting, and the varying role of muscles in locomotion. My work in this area ranges from the digital flexor muscles of the horse (which are capable of generating large forces in eccentric contraction and may be responsible for damping vibrations within the limb) to mechanisms of modulating power output in the avian pectoralis muscle. I am now focusing on how the role of muscle differs within an individual limb. Distal short-fibred muscles with long tendons contract isometrically for economical force production and tendon elastic energy savings whereas muscles with longer fibres, located more proximally in the limb, account for the majority of mechanical work modulation.
McGuigan, M.P. and Wilson, A.M. (2003) The effect of gait and digital muscle activation on limb compliance in the forelimb of the horse (Equus caballus) J. Exp. Biol. 206, 1325-1336
Wilson, A.M., McGuigan, M.P., Su, A and Bogert, A.J. van den (2001) Horses damp the spring in their step. Nature 414, 895-899
Wilson, A.M., McGuigan, M.P., Fouracre, L. and McMahon, L. (2001) The force and contact stress on the navicular bone during trot locomotion in sound horses and horses with navicular disease. Equine Vet. J. 33, 159-165
McGuigan, M.P. and Wilson, A.M. (2001) The effect of bilateral palmar digital nerve analgesia on the compressive force experienced by the navicular bone in horses with navicular disease. Equine Vet J. 33, 166-171
Monica A. Daley
Formerly a graduate student at the Concord Field Station, Monica is now a lecturer for the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College in the UK.
Research interests: Animals move in an unpredictable environment where steady locomotion is rare. Although we can understand many aspects of steady locomotion through mechanics alone, the nature and timing of other behaviors, such as stabilization after a disturbance, depend on the control mechanisms involved. I am interested in how animals integrate the mechanics and control of movement. My research investigates how animals achieve dynamic stability during locomotion in the face of perturbations, using an integrative experimental approach including body, limb and muscle dynamics.
Daley, M. and Goller, F. (2004) Tracheal length changes during zebra finch song and their possible role in upper vocal tract filtering. J. Neurobiology 59, 319-330.
Daley, M. A. and Biewener, A. A (2003) Muscle force-length dynamics during level versus incline locomotion: a comparison of in vivo performance of two guinea fowl ankle extensors. J. Exp. Biol. 206, 2941-2958.
Goller, F. and Daley, M. A. (2001) Novel motor gestures for phonation during inspiration enhance the acoustic complexity of birdsong. Proceedings: Biological Sciences 268(1483), 2301-2305.
Russell P. Main
Formerly a graduate student at the Concord Field Station, Russ is now an Assistant Professor at Purdue University.
Research interests: My research interests largely concern how bone geometry and microstructure change throughout ontogeny in relation to functional bone strain patterns in the limb bones of tetrapods. To investigate this, I am collecting in vivo bone strain data from three vertebrate taxa (goats, emu, monitor lizards) at numerous ontogenetic stages and comparing how the microstructure and cross-sectional geometry of the limb bones in each taxa reflect the measured ontogenetic strain patterns. One goal of this work is to be to draw correlates from these extant taxa regarding the structure/function relationship between bone shape/histology and in vivo strain patterns to the fossil bones of extinct taxa to reconstruct the general biomechanical environments of fossil limb bones.
Main, R.P., A. de Ricqles, J.R. Horner, and K. Padian (in press) The evolution of thyreophoran dinosaur scutes: implications for plate function in stegosaurs. Paleobiology.
Griffin, T. M., R. P. Main, and C. T. Farley. (2004) Biomechanics of quadrupedal walking: how do four-legged animals achieve inverted pendulum-like movements? J. Exp. Biol. 207: 3545-3558.
Main, R. P. and A. A. Biewener. (2004) Ontogenetic patterns of limb loading, in vivo bone strains and growth in the goat radius. J. Exp. Biol. 207: 2577-2588.
Craig P. McGowan
Formerly a graduate student at the Concord Field Station, Craig is now an NRSA Post-doctoral Research Fellow working jointly in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, and in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Research interests: My research interests are broadly concerned with evolution of the musculo-skeletal systems and their role in locomotion. My current research is focused on the mechanics of non-steady bipedal hopping in Macropods (the group containing kangaroos). I am particularly interested in exploring how specific muscle-tendon specializations for elastic energy storage affect the mechanics of maneuvering in uneven environments. To address these questions, I employ a combination of external measurement techniques and in vivo muscle recordings to assess the role of various muscles and muscle-tendon units in whole body locomotor mechanics.
McGowan, C. P., Baudinette, R. V. and Biewener, A. A. (2004) Joint work and power associated with acceleration and deceleration in tammar wallbies (Macropus eugenii). J. Exp. Biol. In-press.
Biewener, A. A., McGowan, C. P., Card, G. M., and Baudinette, R.V. (2004) Dynamics of leg muscle function in tammar wallabies (M. eugenii) during level versus incline hopping. J. Exp. Biol. 207, 211-223.
Formerly a graduate student at the Concord field station, Ty is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jim Usherwood was a post-doctoral researcher at CFS from 2002 to 2004 working on avian flight. He currently works as a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the Structure and Motion lab at The Royal Veterinary College (London, UK). His current research focuses on the mechanics of walking, running in bipeds and quadrupeds, and bird flight.
Anna Ahn was an NIH Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at CFS from 2000 to 2003 working on the neural control and mechanics of three species of frogs specializing in differnt modes of locomotion Bufo - hopping, Kassina - walking, and Xenopus - swimming). She currently works at Harvey Mudd College as an Associate Professor of Biology. She studies the neural control and mechanics of locomotion in a diverse range of animals, including tarantulas, frogs, lizards, and humans.
Website: Anna Ahn
Gary B. Gillis
Gary Gillis was a post-doctoral researcher at CFS from 1998 to 2002 working on muscle function during locomotion in rats, toads, and goats. He is currently an associate professor of biology at Mount Holyoke College. He works on the biomechanics and neuromotor control of anuran landing.
Website: Gary Gillis
Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Concord Field Station, Barb is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at Shenedoah University.
Bret W. Tobalske
Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the Concord field station, Bret is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Portland, Oregon.
Peter G. Weyand
Formerly a research associate at the Concord Field Station, Peter is now an Assistant Professor in Rice University's Department of Kinesiology in Houston, Texas.