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About R. W. Blob

I am broadly interested the evolution of musculoskeletal function in animals. To understand how animals perform the tasks that allow them to survive, I test the functional consequences of variation in biological design through experimental studies of musculoskeletal biomechanics, primarily in vertebrate systems. To understand how function evolves, I take a comparative approach to these analyses, conducting studies in a phylogenetic context and frequently drawing on data from the fossil record as well as extant species. Studies of vertebrate locomotion are a particular focus in my lab, and our recent research in this area has included studies of (1) the evolution of limb bone safety factors through studies of limb bone loading in amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and fossil mammal-like reptiles, (2) the kinematics and hydrodynamics of aquatic locomotion in turtles, (3) how muscle function changes between locomotor behaviors in alligators and turtles, (4) comparisons of limb bone allometry among reptilian, amphibian, and mammalian lineages, and (5) comparisons of the mechanics of waterfall climbing among species of Hawaiian gobioid fishes. I am also generally interested in bone biomechanics, and my lab has initiated long term work examining the evolution of the mechanical properties of vertebrate limb bones and deer antler, with a particular emphasis on the application of phylogenetic comparative methods in these analyses. Other projects include examinations of feeding and sucker function in gobioid fishes, studies of musculoskeletal function in insects, and paleoecological and taphonomic studies of Cretaceous fossil assemblages from North America.


Present Faculty Member, Clemson University

Articles (18)