Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Chair/Advisor

Blob, Richard W

Committee Member

Blob , Richard W

Committee Member

Schoenfuss , Heiko L

Committee Member

Ptacek , Margaret B

Committee Member

Childress , Michael J

Committee Member

Higham , Timothy E


Understanding the functional capacity and performance of organisms provides a strong foundation for recognizing the forces that are responsible for their form, and how they might adapt to variable or changing environmental conditions. Amphidromous stream goby fishes live in a habitat subject to two potentially extreme selective pressures: (1) predation on juvenile fish returning to freshwater from the ocean, and (2) the demand to climb waterfalls to reach adult breeding habitats. Recognizing these selection pressures, I present studies evaluating (1) the mechanisms underlying the functional capacity for adhesive performance, and (2) the risk that predation imposes on amphidromous gobies. Specifically, these evaluations are based on measurements of the musculoskeletal biomechanics underlying adhesive performance in climbing and non-climbing species of gobies, and measurements of feeding kinematics and performance by piscivorous gobioid predators attacking juvenile gobies. Through the biomechanical and functional studies I present, we reach better understandings of how the functional demands of an extreme habitat are met across a range of related species.

Included in

Morphology Commons



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