Science Lecture Series

Friday, April 12, 2019 - 10:30am
SM 313

The Science Lecture Series will host Christopher V. Anderson, Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at the University of South Dakota, to lecture on "Anatomical and physiological mechanisms underlying in biomechanics and performance in 'chameleons'" on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 10:30 am in SM 313. Arrive early for refreshments.

The manner in which animals move and perform in their natural environment can have a profound impact on their survival and fitness. Many animals have therefore modified aspects of their biomechanics to perform more optimally in the specific habitats that they occupy. These modifications are often in the form of anatomical or physiological specializations that alter their mechanics or performance. Variation in limb length among species living on branches of differing diameters or shifts in the temperature sensitivity of physiological rate processes among populations living at different latitudes are common examples of such specializations. This talk will explore some of the anatomical and physiological mechanisms by which “chameleons” have specialized to perform a variety of daily functions. Focusing first on true chameleons, we will look at the explosive performance that characterizes their ballistic tongue projection, as well as anatomical specializations of the skeleton that allow them to inhabit more or less arboreal habitats. We will then transition to research on “American chameleons” (anoles) and how variation in muscle contractile physiology helps shape locomotor performance, as well as how different muscles are tuned to perform different tasks. Using an integrative framework that includes techniques such as high-speed videography, micro-CT scans, in vitro muscle contractile experiments and behavioral trials, this talk will illustrate some of the functional basis for how these animals have specialized to perform in their natural environments.

Lectures are open to the public and admission is free. Each program includes activities and prizes! Seating is first come, first served - so arrive 15-20 minutes early.

The Science Lecture Series is a forum designed to give students and the Saddleback College community the chance to meet renowned scientists and industry leaders and learn about their area of expertise. This series provides an opportunity to explore an astonishing range of topics with scientific value, including emerging technologies and advancements in research. Each 1.5 hour program includes an introduction of the guest speaker followed by the featured lecture and ends with an open forum discussion in which audience members are encouraged to ask questions of the guest speaker.

For more information visit our website or contact Karen Kelley (