SICB Division of Comparative Biomechanics (DCB)

DCB Researchers Database Entry

Anthony Herrel

Evolution of complex integrated systems such as the vertebrate feeding and locomotor systems
My research centers around the evolution of complex integrated systems such as the vertebrate feeding and locomotor systems. To gain insights into how and when these complex systems may change over evolutionary time I use an integrative approach combining morphological, ecological behavioural and functional analyses within an explicit historical context. One of the model systems I have recently started to study in collaboration with Dr. D. Irschick (Tulane University) is the feeding system in Anolis lizards. Anolis lizards have radiated extensively in different microhabitats in the Caribbean and have evolved specific morphologies (i.e. ecomorphs) independently in all the major island systems (e.g. Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hispaniola). By combining data on prey availability, diet, head morphology and bite forces I try to investigate if evolutionary variation in head shape is associated with evolutionary variation in bite forces and diet. Similar studies on other lizard radiations, fish, bats and Darwin’s finches will allow me to infer broad evolutionary patterns across major vertebrate lineages.