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The field of biomechanics uses the principles of engineering and physics to understand how plants and animals function. I was raised as a biomechanic, beginning as an undergraduate at Duke University where I was recruited by two of the influential leaders of the field, Steve Wainwright and Steve Vogel. After my doctoral work at the University of British Columbia (where I explored the mechanics of gastropod locomotion with John Gosline), I began to wonder how biomechanics could be used in an ecological context, and I have been exploring this question ever since. Two years as a postdoc with Bob Paine at the University of Washington introduced me to the ecology of wave-swept shores, and it is in that uniquely stressful environment that my current research strives to advance our understanding of ecological mechanics.
Biomechanics, ecology, and ecological physiology