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Board of Regents Grant Awarded to Emily Kane

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Emily Kane

Emily Kane of our Department of Biology has been awarded a Board of Regents grant in the amount of $159,000. The grant period is from 06/01/2023 through 06/30/2026. The title of the grant is Sculpting sculpins: form and function of pectoral fin specialization in intertidal fishes.

Emily Kane: Sculpin

Emily Kane: Sculpin Labeled

Applying physical principles to animals is a powerful tool for disentangling the role of structure in function and survival. These tools have been used to understand phenomena such as how birds fly and how fishes swim. But how do these same structures work when propulsion is not the goal, such as in station-holding fishes? This function of locomotor systems is often overlooked and our understanding of the mechanisms contributing to this function are primarily correlative. Benthic station-holding is prominent in Pacific marine sculpins that inhabit intertidal coasts exposed to turbulent wave action. The fish display a unique fin structure that resembles gripping fingers and are presumed to assist with holding on. I propose a study that compares representative species from intertidal and subtidal habitats to test predictive relationships between pectoral fin traits and the ability to maintain position in flow. This project will examine a relatively unexplored adaptation in fishes, with implications for bioinspired applications such as anchoring technology.