My work focuses on the flight motor of flies, specifically blow flies (Calliphora vicina), with the aim to understand how they are able to finely alter their wing movements despite the wingbeat itself being powered by muscles that do not attach to the wings. To do this, I have been using high speed macrophotography to study the external components of the wing hinge and their movements throughout the wingbeat, particularly with regards to the gear change mechanism. More recently, I have made use of synchrotron x-ray computed microtomography to study the internal components of the flight motor, such as the control muscles that are responsible for controlling the movements of the exoskeletal components (sclerites) that surround the wing hinge. The movement of these sclerites and acitivity of these muscles are responsible for changing the way the wing moves. By correlating changes in wing kinematics to changes in muscle activity and sclerite movement I hope to determine the roles of each muscle and sclerite in controlling the fine kinematics of the wings.
Previous: B.A. Natural Sciences (Cantab)
Reassessing the Gear Change Mechanism in Dipteran Flight. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (2016).
The Gear Change Mechanism of Dipteran Flight. Society for Experimental Biology (2015).