Evolutionary Functional Morphology Lab



Evolutionary Functional Morphology Lab
Left to Right: Philip Bergmann, Gen Morinaga, Faye Harwell, Verna Zhao, Erika Schaper, Marian Crockett,
Muhaj Azeez, Rob Holden (see below for details)

Principal Investigator

Philip J. Bergmann

Philip J. Bergmann

Associate Professor of Biology

E-mail: pbergmann@clarku.edu
CV | Publications | Personal Info





Current Students

Gen Morinaga

PhD Candidate

September 2012 - Present

Gen is broadly interested in convergent evolution, or the evolution of similar traits among distantly related organisms. His research in particular focuses on the evolution of snake-like body shape among lizards, and how this body shape affects ecology and locomotion.


Amy Cheu

PhD Student

August 2015 - Present

Amy is interested in how multiple phenotypes affect multiple aspects of performance by examining the complex relationships between interacting traits and their functions in an organism. She is currently working with basilisk lizards and integrating functional morphology, comparative biomechanics, muscle physiology, and statistics.

Amy's Website


Marian Crockett

May 2014 - Present

Marian is a MS student interested in animal locomotion and how environmental variation affects how an animal runs and their sprint performance. She records lizards running on large-particled granular substrates (rocks and balls) with high-speed video to see effects of the size and shape of the particles on performance and kinematics. The outcomes of this experiment can inform us about the ways animals navigate obstacles and how they change their speed or modify how they run when faced with different substrates. This can give biological insights into robotics, technology, and physics of running on a variable surface, all from looking at lizards running in slow motion!


Rob Holden

May 2015 - Present

Rob is a MS student working on comparing swimming and running-on-water performance in basilisk lizards.


Erika Schaper

September 2014 - Present

Erika works as a lab assistant caring for the reptiles and amphibians used for research in the lab. She is also planning to embark on a course of study investigating the microhabitat use of native Philippines skinks. By quantitatively analyzing the living and non-living components of their environment, she hopes to draw conclusions about their morphological adaptations as well as their degree of habitat preference.


David Berry

September 2015 - Present

David is using mechanical models to study how head shape affects burrowing performance. The mechanical models represent the range of diversity of head shapes that have evolved in burrowing lizards. The models allow David to manipulate the diameter, slope of the snout, and how pointy the snout is independently. He uses the models to study how these variables affect how easily the model heads can penetrate different substrates.


Jordan Majka

January 2016 - Present

Jordan is working with lizards and frogs seeing how they move using their limbs. He is looking at form and function: how their physical traits affect their performance. He is also trying to elucidate how multiple physical traits affect locomotor performance.


Sara Mann

September 2016 - Present

Sara is an undergraduate student helping with studies of running and burrowing in limb reduced skinks.


Lana Le

January 2017 - Present

Lana is an undergraduate student helping with the basilisk project.


Kristen Glennie

January 2017 - Present

Kristen is an undergraduate student helping with studies of how substrate affects locomotion.





Graduate Student Alumni

Faye Harwell, MS: 5/2014 to 7/2016 - Thesis "The effects of body temperature and hydration on thermal and moisture preferences, and jumping performance in three species of frog differing in niche use and degree of relatedness"

Cynthia Alonso, MS: 1/2014 to 7/2015 - Thesis "Standardization of phylogenetically independent contrasts and regression"

Hannah Diebboll, MS: 6/2013 to 5/2015 - Thesis "Environmental, behavioral, and size effects on the dehydration rates of amphibians"

Allegra Mitchell, MS: 1/2011 to 5/2014 - Thesis "The effects of body temperature and hydration on environmental temperature and moisture preferences and jumping performance in green frogs (Lithobates clamitans)"

Natasha Tchamitchian, MA: 3/2011 to 5/2013 - Thesis "The effects of anthropogenic and natural acidification on Amphibians"




Past Students

Muhaj Azeez, BA: 5/2015 to 4/2016

Verna Zhao, BA: 5/2015 to 12/2015

Kyle Pettinelli, BA: 1/2012 to 12/2015

Molly Provost, BA: 5/2013 to 4/2015

Sarah Kaufman, BA: 5/2014 to 4/2015

Becca Rood-Goldman, BA: 8/2013 to 4/2014

Leah Siegel-Reamer, BA: 5/2012 to 4/2014

Mandy Gaudreau - PhD Student, 1/2012 to 4/2013

Kelsey Giedymin, BA: 9/2011 to 4/2012

Meredith Hare-Drubka, BA: 5/2011 to 15/2013

David Opp, BA: 1/2011 to 4/2011

Simone Palladino, BA: 9/2011 to 4/2012

Daniel Rabinowicz, BA: 1/2011 to 8/2012

Katelyn Richer, BA: 9/2012 to 4/2013

Erika Roth, BA: 5/2012 to 4/2013

Sarah Schnur, BA: 5/2012 to 5/2013

Allyson Zelck, 1/2011 to 4/2012



© 2005-2016 Philip J. Bergmann | Updated 2.10.2017