Affiliated Faculty & Partners

Bret Tobalske

Associate Professor

Department: Division of Biological Sciences

University System: University of Montana - Missoula


Professional Summary:

Research Interests

Comparative Biomechanics, Functional Morphology, Muscle Physiology

Central to the biology of birds, bats, and insects: flight requires more power output than any other form of animal locomotion. Ultimately, I seek to understand how flight has shaped the ecology and evolution of birds. I use a variety of techniques to explore the mechanisms of bird flight in both the laboratory and in the field. Much of my recent work uses a laser-based system to measure patterns of airflow about the wings and in the wake of flying birds. I am working to relate these flow dynamics to the in vivo muscle work and power output produced during flight.

Although my primary focus is on bird flight, I am also deeply interested in a wide array of topics in comparative biomechanics and functional morphology. I am open to advising graduate students who wish to study taxa other than birds and other forms of animal performance including swimming and feeding. I also have an abiding interest in the conservation biology of cavity-nesting birds.

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