I am hoping to take a new Ph.D. student next year but there is no guarantee that I can at this point, given the low funding level of UC. I expect my students to share at least one academic interest with me. We generally study functional morphology and its implication to ecology and evolution of vertebrates in my lab. We usually start by looking at living animals and then try to apply the knowledge to fossils. In doing so, all of us try to incorporate physical principles into our functional interpretations so that what we learned from living animals can be applied to something that lived long time ago–laws of physics have not changed despite of the time elapsed.
- Eye sensitivity in birds and fossil archosaurs and the evolution of temporal niche division in dinosaurs.
- Swimming styles of Cretaceous birds and the evolution of swimming.
- Retrodeformation of distorted fossils using Finite Element Methods.
- Shell crushing ability in fossil chimaeriforms and ptyctodontid placoderms and the early evolution of durophagy.
- Feeding adaptation in Mesozoic marine reptiles and their temporal patterns.
- Neck mechanics of long-necked plesiosaurs.
As you notice, the topics are diverse in terms of taxonomy.