B.S., National Taiwan University, 2003
M.S., National Taiwan University, 2006
I am broadly interested in the ideas of ecology and evolution, particularly those at and beyond organismal level. So far, the idea that intrigues me most is how performance demands shape (or constrain) the design of animal body plans. For any individual to successfully pass its genes to the next generation, it has to fulfill a variety of tasks, such as obtaining metabolic energy, escaping from predators, and acquiring mates. Each task imposes its own performance demands on animal body parts. In the simplest case, one body part is involved in only one task, and body parts involved in different tasks functions independently. However, it is more often that a many-to-many relationship exists between body parts and performance, i.e., multiple body parts are responsible for meeting one performance demand, and one body part may have different functions in different tasks. The complex nature of this morphology-performance relationship can only be studied using an approach integrating multiple morphology-performance axes into one analysis. By doing so, I hope to model the morphological space where all included performance demands can be met. The boundary of this morphological space thus also represents the boundary of the design of animal body plan, given that the direction of selection does not change. As I will keep refining my ideas, please allow me to be somewhat unspecific for the present.
My current project is to examine the effect of weight loading on the performance and kinematics of running and jumping in green anoles (Anolis carolinensis). Weight loading is a common practice to understand how animals would adjust kinematically to increased power output. Previous works mainly focused on such effect on horizontal locomotion using ungulates as study species. The effect on vertical running and jumping, which are essential locomotor styles in arboreal animals, received much less attention. In this project, I will test three hypotheses in green anoles. Firstly, weight loading will affect anoles with larger body size to a greater extent, and the negative effect will manifest itself through kinematic variables related to running and jumping. Secondly, weight loading on more distal body parts will have more prominent influence on running and jumping performance. Thirdly, male lizards will be affected to a greater extent by weight loading on the body than on the head, and the opposite is true for female lizards. The results of this project can provide some insight into how green anoles adapt to common physiological challenges (e.g., when they carry eggs, have a full stomach, or when the heads grow larger). Also, the results from more extreme manipulations can reveal how running and jumping are related to underlying kinematics in green anoles.
Kuo CY, YS Lin, YK Lin (2007). Resource use and morphology of two sympatric Japalura lizards (Iguania: Agamidae). Journal of Herpetology 41(4): 713-723.
Kuo CY, YK Lin, YS Lin (2009). Sexual size and shape dimorphism in an Agamid lizard, Japalura swinhonis (Squamata: Lacertilia: Agamidae). Zoological Studies 48(3): 351-361.