2019

Belugas in Water with Topography of Animals Ridges

How Smooth Is A Dolphin?

July 17, 2019

Dolphin skin has long inspired research on drag reduction mechanisms due to the presence of skin ridges that could reduce fluid resistance. PhD candidate Dylan Wainwright and Prof. George Lauder collected in vivo three-dimensional surface data on the skin from five species of odontocetes (cetaceans that includes dolphins, porpoises, and all other whales possessing teeth) to quantitatively examine skin texture, including the presence and size of ridges.

Wainwright, Lauder and team molded the skin of live dolphins to study the texture of their skin and how it might relate...

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Rosella Gabriellus fossil

Javier Ortega-Hernández and Rudy-Lerosey Aubril Awarded William F. Milton Fund

July 15, 2019

Congratulations to Javier Ortega-Hernández and Rudy Lerosey-Aubril (Research Associate, Ortega-Hernández lab) awarded the William F. Milton Fund for their project, "Revealing the nearshore cradle of animal evolution: a new exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossil biota from the early Cambrian of British Columbia.

The award will support the study of a new...

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Eggs by Nicholas Blumhardt on Flickr

Overturning Evolutionary Doctrine

July 3, 2019

PhD candidates, Sam Church and Bruno de Medeiros, Research Associate Seth Donoughe ('18), and Prof. Cassandra Extavour disprove an old hypothesis and prove a new one. The study published in Nature analyzed a large data set to challenge the untested assumptions about egg size in insects. For example, one popular assumption has been that there is some universal scaling law that means certain egg shapes can only exist at certain sizes....

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European roe deer courtesy of Nathan Ranc

From One Animal to an Ecosystem

June 21, 2019

At 45 pounds and just over two feet tall, adult European roe deer are much smaller than American deer and closer in size to a greyhound. And unlike their cousin species, red deer or elk, roe deer like to be solitary, spending most of their lives within a range of one square kilometer.  PhD student, Nathan Ranc (Paul Moorcroft lab) want to know the reason for this mystery. In the Alps of northern Italy, Nathan and colleagues are trying to build a model that explains the factors determining why particular deer choose to live where they do. His work with roe deer...

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Tokyo Tech and Jim Hanken Developmental Cell Study 2019

Oxygen Shapes Arms and Legs

June 13, 2019

A collaboration between professors at Tokyo Tech and Yamagata University and Prof. Jim Hanken has identified a surprising factor that the amount of oxygen surrounding the embryo could have been crucial for the appearance of interdigital cell death in tetrapods during evolution. The study, published in Developmental Cell, looked to understand the role of environmental oxygen in the...

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IB Student Camille DeSisto_Photo by Kris Snibbe, Harvard Staff Photographer

Camille DeSisto Searches for Answers in What Lemurs Leave Behind

May 18, 2019
Undergraduate IB Concentrator, Camille DeSisto (Davis Lab) spent two summers in Madagascar’s tropical forests studying invasive plant dispersal, by exploring lemur poop. The island’s lemurs eat the plant’s fruit and poop out the seeds, widely spreading the invasive strawberry guava along Madagascar’s tropical east coast threatening native plants that are unlike plants found anywhere else. Camille's research was featured in the... Read more about Camille DeSisto Searches for Answers in What Lemurs Leave Behind
Illustrations for McCoy Proceedings of Royal Society B Paper

Structurally Assisted Super Black in Colourful Peacock Spiders

May 15, 2019

Peacock spiders, known for their elaborate mating dances, use incredibly dark, “super black” patches on their body to enhance nearby colors. This makes colors look impossibly bright, or even glowing, an optical illusion also used by birds-of-paradise.The spider evolved microlenses on its body surface, which manipulate light in the same way human-made materials do.

PhD Student, Dakota McCoy (David Haig Lab) documents a remarkable convergence of form, between nature and engineering, and function, between two groups of highly ornate, sexually selected animals,...

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