Fish swimming. I have a number of projects aimed at understanding the relationship between median fins and swimming performance. The core of my dissertation aims to understand how flow interactions detween the dorsal/anal fin and the caudal fin can improve thrust production and efficiency of swimming. I also aim to understand how this effect has shaped fish evolution. I am approaching these questions with a biomimetic robotic system, hybrid cichlid respirometry, and phylogenetic comparative methods.
Fish feeding. African cichlids have undergone the largest adaptive radiation of any vertebrate lineage. Much of this diversification revolves around the craniofacial feeding structures of these fish. A great deal of work has gone into understanding the developmental basis underlying this variation. I am interested in understanding how the developmental variation causes performance variation, helping us connect these evolutionary patterns to the selective pressures that shaped them.
Other research interests. I am involved in a number of other research projects in collaboration with a diverse set of colleagues. These projects include working with researchers at the Wyss Institute to characterize the swimming of a biohybrid robot made of human heart cells and controlled with light pulses. I am also working with engineers at the University of Virginia to understand the hydrodynamic effect of fish caudal peduncle stiffness using computational fluid dynamics. My work with colleagues from the University of Connecticut aims to understand the locomotory consequences of parasitic infection in stickleback.