2001- 2002 CEIRP
Interest: Marine Mammals
have a longstanding interest in mammal biology, specifically
how mammals, both neonates and adults, interact with their
environment. This interest has led me to study muscles, the
actuators of movement, because movement is one of the main
ways that mammals engage their environment. Muscles are an
interesting tissue to work with and can be a starting place
for discussions about cellular respiration, pH, acid buffering,
enzyme function, and exercise, for example.
chose to study muscles in marine mammals because their aquatic
lifestyle presents unique challenges for muscle function.
Thus, I also have an interest in oceans and especially the
effects of pollution on mammalian systems. My research focuses
on the breathing muscles of bottlenose dolphins and Florida
these animals are mammals, their breathing is characterized
by explosive exhalation-inhalation coupled with periods of
breath-hold. I am working to identify and characterize the
muscles responsible for the unique breathing behaviors seen
in these animals. I am also studying the development of the
diaphragm muscle in bottlenose dolphins, and this study has
led to a better understanding of muscle development in neonates
that are considered precocial ("adult-like") when
they are born.