Professor Sharon Swartz
Welcome to the Aeromechanics and Evolutionary Morphology Lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University.
At the broadest level, our research program seeks insight into the patterned interrelationship of structure and function in the biological world. We hope to better understand the evolution of animal architecture and biological materials, and how they are influenced by the physical world.
A primary goal of our research is to understand the mechanistic basis of flight in bats. Without this, it is not possible to understand how flight originated and then diversified within the bat lineage, nor is it possible it interpret the similarities and differences in the evolution of flight among bats, birds, pterosaurs, and insects, or to elucidate many facets of the ecology and physiology of flying animals. Flying animals must share certain characteristics dictated by the constraints of physics, and our research program seeks to delineate those aspects of the structure, physiology, and mechanics of bats and their wings that distinctively shape bat flight.