Winston C. Lancaster: Research Interests

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Updated:26 August 2003

Research Interests: Morphological Ecology, typically of bats

          My research interests lie in the fields of functional and ecological morphology.  I specifically focus on the morphological and physiological specializations by which the respiratory system of bats is adapted to power echolocation.  This system presents an excellent model for the broader biological question of primary organ systems that are modified for a secondary function.  Non-echolocating bats (e.g. flying foxes) represent an ancestral condition as compared to a diverse spectrum of derived echolocating bats, defined by quantifiable behavior.  Vocal behavior in echolocating bats forms the foundation for feeding, sensory orientation and many social interactions.  This approach integrates structure and function to behavior and hence to ecology. 

My current research projects include characterization of the variation in the morphology of rib cages of bats in comparison to their echolocation style and foraging strategy, morphometric analysis of cranial remodeling in an unusual species of bat. 

My goal is to integrate all aspects of the thoracic, abdominal and pelvic morphology that show relationships to biosonar strategy and examine the consequences of these adaptations to other aspects of the life histories of the bats, including quadrupedal locomotion and roost selection, and the possible conflicts between adaptations for echolocation and parturition. 









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