Current Research Projects

Principal aim: finding statistically supported histological correlates of powered flight, secondary flightlessness, and superprecociality in birds, and applying results to dinobirds by searching for similar patterns in their bone histology
Study object: birds and dinosaur-bird transitional forms
Methodology: after initial qualitative assessment under polarized light microscope, histomorphometric measurements of bone tissue characteristics based on thin sections and possibly microCT data; numerical analysis of measurements
Principal aim: Understand evolutionary adaptations and mechanical requirements of animal prehensile tail systems
Study object: Brittlestars, syngnathid fishes, chamaeleons, lizards, New World monkeys
Methodology: ┬ÁCT scanning, 3D reconstructions, dissections, 3D shape analysis, finite element modelling, multibody dynamics modelling, biomimetics
Principal aim: 1. Unveiling the genetic basis of head dimorphism and the effects of this dimorphism on fat and pollutant deposition. 2. Studying musculoskeletal adaptations in relation to feeding divergence in glass and yellow eels
Study object: The European eel (Anguilla anguilla, Linnaeus 1758), a catadromous fish found in rivers throughout West and North Europe, which has been listed as 'critically endangered' on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
Methodology: RNA-seq, 3D shape analysis, CT-scanning, Finite element modeling
Principal aim: detect the nature of opercular deformations and their possible causes, and to establish a detection protocol for use in aquaculture.
Study object: gilthead sea bream, a salt water species from the Mediterranean Sea and the western European and African coasts, with a reputation as a highly valued food fish, both in aquaculture and fisheries.
Methodology: geometric morphometrics, claering and staining, histology, ct-scanning, experimental set-ups.
Principal aim: understand the level of adaptive evolution in the cranial musculoskeletal system during evolution in relation to haematophagy.
Study object: Neotropical catfishes (Trichomycteridae), especially representatives of the clade showing an evolutionary trend towards haematophagy (including the legendary candir├╣ catfish).
Methodology: clearing and staining, dissections, histology, micro-CT-scanning, graphical 3D-reconstructing, 3D-modelling of functionality, molecular phylogeny.
Principal aim: investigate the effects that physical and nutritional parameters have on the growth of cultured sea bass.
Study object: European sea bass, a commercially important species in fisheries and aquaculture, with a natural range from Scandinavia to West Africa.
Methodology: experimental set-ups, morphological study, biometrics, geometric morphometrics.
Principal aim: characterize dimorphism in different aspects of cranial morphology and feeding performance in European eel (anatomy, shape, muscle physiology, biting performance) in relation to its trophic ecology (more specifically feeding) and its impact on intake of pollutants.
Study object: European eel, a species found in rivers throughout West and North Europe, as well as in the North Atlantic Ocean, where they spawn in the Sargasso Sea.
Methodology: dissections, histological serial sections, CT-scanning, field observations, geometric morphometrics, 3D-reconstructing, Finite Element Modelling.