Post-doctoral Research Associate in Comparative Biomechanics
College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Email: [email protected]
My primary interest is about the role of predator-prey interactions in evolution of Vertebrates.
To investigate these interactions, my research focuses on feeding behavior, especially prey capture
behavior. To date, most studies of feeding behavior in Vertebrates quantify movements of the trophic
elements like the jaws and the hyolingual apparatus. However, feeding performance is now considered
to be based on a complex integrative performance involving movements of the trophic elements with
those of the locomotor elements such as the vertebral column and the forelimbs particularly. My work
aims at documenting and testing the coordination of locomotor and trophic movements during feeding
behavior, and whether such coordination responds prey stimuli. Methodologically, feeding behavior is
recorded at high-speed frame rate (usually 200fps) using multiple synchronized cameras mounted on
cinefluoroscopes. Movies from different points of view are digitized to quantify movements in 3
dimensions, and kinematic variables are extracted to compare the pattern of coordination through
relevant statistical procedures.
This work has been initiated at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris, France with
professor Vincent Bels, with the help of engineer Paul-Antoine Libourel and Dr. Anthony Herrel, using
squamate lizards as the predator model. The squamate lineage is indeed a relevant model for the study
of locomotor-trophic functional integration because several key adaptations in their evolution are linked
to feeding behavior. In lizards, key feeding adaptations include specialization in foraging activity
(ambush sit-and-wait predators or active foragers), prey detection (visual or chemoreception), prey
prehension (tongue-based or jaws-only), and transport mode (lingual and inertial). The comparative
framework of squamate lineage makes it a relevant model to test different hypotheses about the role of
locomotor-trophic integration in evolution, especially in respect to co-adaptation and trade-offs at the
morphological and the functional levels.