Opportunities for PhD Students
I expect doctoral students to develop their own research and believe that
an important part of a PhD program is to teach the student how to generate
novel hypotheses to test. Some topics that I would like to work on with Doctoral students are:
- The convergent evolution and functional morphology of body elongation and limb reduction in lizards
- Burrowing functional morphology of lizards and snakes
- Complex relationships between form and function, and how this affects the evolution of phenotype
- Ecology and niche use in reptiles or amphibians
- Development and testing of phylogenetically-informed evolutionary statistical methods
Opportunities for Undergraduate and MS Students
Evolution of Lizard Limb Morphology
Lizards have evolved an incredible diversity of limb morphology and this
morphology correlates with locomotor performance and kinematics. The goal
is to quantify lizard limb diversity and gain an understanding of what
morphologies have evolved and which ones have not and maybe cannot evolve.
The project will involve work in natural history museums, measuring lizard
Diversification in Lizard Ecology
Lizards fill an incredible variety of niches, inhabiting most biomes and habitats
within. This is a borad-scale study of what habitats the various extant species
of lizards inhabit, and their diets. This
project will be a major literature review, and ultimately the data gleaned from
the literature will be placed in a database.
The effects of substrate on locomotion in lizards
How an animal moves is partly dependent on what it is moving on, which is an important link between functional morphology and ecology/niche use. There has not yet been a concerted effort to examine how different substrate characteristics influence locomotor performance and kinematics in terrestrial lizards. Such a project would involve working with live lizards and filiming and analyzing their locomotion using high-speed video.
Relationships between different locomotor modes in basilisk lizards
Basilisks are dynamic animals that run, climb, swim, jump, and run on water. They present an excellent opportunity to study how these different aspects of locomotion are related to one another and locomotion. This project is most appropriate for a student interest in an accelerated Master's degree.
Applied statistics and biology
Students with a strong background in mathematics and especially statistics that are interested in applying their skills to biology should contact Dr. Bergmann to discuss opportunities for doing this.
For more information about any of these projects, feel free to contact Philip Bergmann by E-mail.