As an organismal biologist, my research program examines how morphological variation affects the performance, behavior, and ecology of animals at the species- and individual-levels. Specifically, I test the mechanisms that contribute to (1) the generation and maintenance of species and phenotypic diversity across macroevolutionary scales and (2) the variation of survival and fitness between individuals within single populations.
Mammals vary in a magnitude of body shapes from robust tank-like elephants to elongate weasels. What drive these patterns?
Some sea otters use tools to break hard-shelled seafood, but others don't. Does this variation influence individual foraging success?
Do individuals living in cooler environments exhibit more elongate bodies than individuals living in warmer climates?
Sea otters eat a variety of hard-shelled sea food. What adaptations enable them to break open these different hard prey items?
Do evolutionary changes in cranial size and shape lead to enhanced bite force?
Sexual dimorphism is widespread across animals. How does sexual selection and niche divergence contribute to this phenomenon?
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