Ever wonder how a spiny lobster communicates with other lobsters? Thatís a question that interests Sheila Patek, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology and new faculty curator at UCMP. Patek has discovered that spiny lobsters produce sounds in an entirely different manner than do other arthropods. Most arthropods drag a pick across a bumpy surface to produce sound, much like a washboard the lobster rubs a soft plectrum (an extension off the base of each antenna) across a sticky-smooth file (on each side of a plate below the eyes), more like a violinís bow across a string.
ďIíve been interested in mechanics, marine life, and music for as long as I can remember. Merging the three interests seemed a logical way to pursue a productive and interesting career in science.
ďMy research focuses on the connection between biomechanics and communication, especially acoustic communication. How do animals produce and receive communication signals? How have these structures influenced the evolutionary diversification of animal behavior? If we understand communication structures and how they are used in extant animals, we can go back to the fossil record and infer actual communication signals from fossilized morphology.Ē
Following her undergraduate work at Harvard, Patek earned her Ph.D. at Duke University in 2001. She then spent three years on a Miller Postdoctoral Fellowship working with Professor Roy Caldwell here at Berkeley.
Associate Professor of Integrative Biology and UCMP faculty curator Leslea Hlusko has been studying dental variation in modern baboons, making use of a rich African fossil record documenting the last 10 million years of Old World monkey evolution,