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  • UC Riverside
  • College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Mark Chappell


Associate Professor of Biology

Office: 2219 Spieth Hall
office phone:  951-827-3652
Facsimile:  951-827-4286

Higham lab website


Degree:  Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2006

I aim to understand how animals function mechanically and physiologically in their environment.   Specifically, I integrate biomechanics, muscle physiology and functional morphology to elucidate the mechanisms underlying locomotion and feeding in vertebrates.   Given that the physiological mechanisms underlying locomotion and feeding have been modified over major evolutionary transitions in vertebrate ecology, I study various aspects of evolutionary adaptation by coupling my mechanical approaches with evolutionary and ecological perspectives.   In addition, several of my research interests apply to biomedical physiology. I participate in IDEA, the UCR Institute for the Development of Educational Applications

Past and current research initiatives include:

  • The biomechanics and evolution of gecko locomotion
  • Muscle dynamics and biomechanics of vertebrate locomotion
  • Effects of exercise-induced fatigue on skeletal muscle mechanics and activation patterns
  • The neurobiology and biomechanics of tail autotomy in lizards
  • Physiology, biomechanics and evolution of predator-prey interactions in vertebrates
  • Hydrodynamics and biomechanics of suction feeding in fishes

    Some Representative Publications....
    • Higham, T.E., P.G. Korchari, and L.D. McBrayer. 2011.   How muscles define maximum locomotor performance in lizards:   An analysis using swing and stance phase muscles.   Journal of Experimental Biology 214, 1685-1691.
    • Clark, A.J. and T.E. Higham. 2011.   Slipping, sliding, and stability:   locomotor strategies for overcoming low-friction surfaces.   Journal of Experimental Biology 214, 1369-1378.
    • Higham, T.E. and A.P. Russell. 2010. Flip, flop and fly:   modulated motor control and highly variable movement patterns of autotomized gecko tails.   Biology Letters 6, 70-73. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0577
    • Fuller, P.O, T.E. Higham, and A.J. Clark. 2011.   Posture, speed, and habitat structure:   Three-dimensional hindlimb kinematics of two species of padless geckos.   Zoology 114, 104-112.
    • Higham, T.E. and A.A. Biewener. 2008.   Integration within and between muscles during terrestrial locomotion: effects of incline and speed.   Journal of Experimental Biology 211, 2303-2316.
    • Higham, T.E., C.D. Hulsey, O. Rican and A.M. Carroll. 2007.   Feeding with speed: prey capture evolution in cichlids.   Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20, 70-78.
    • Higham, T.E. 2007.   Feeding, fins and braking maneuvers:   locomotion during prey capture in centrarchid fishes.   Journal of Experimental Biology 210, 107-117.

    (click here for a complete publication list)