Spence Lab

Integrative Animal Locomotion

Spence Lab

As a group we are interested in how and why animals move. Evolution has produced animals with breath-taking abilities. Legged animals gallop, climb, and jump through complex, uncertain environments. Arboreal animals climb, leap, glide, and fly through the forest canopy. We are challenged with discovering the mechanisms by which animals achieve these feats, and the selective pressures that have shaped them. If we can discover the general principles of how biological systems move, then we can advance both biology and medicine, whilst inspiring new technology. 

We take an integrative approach. In the words of Karl Popper, we are students of problems, not disciplines. There is no reason to think the best tools to solve a given problem will come from within one discipline. Further, we strive to integrate across length scales to give more accurate understanding, and to tightly integrate theory and experiment. 

 

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