Nicole Nakata email@example.com
I study the functional morphology, biomechanics, ecology, and evolution of invertebrate organisms, especially their larvae. I am interested in how developmental and evolutionary processes interact to produce morphological diversity of form and variation in life history patterns. I am interested in the evolution of morphological patterns when larvae change form through ontogeny or through change in trophic mode (e.g. feeding to nonfeeding). I am interested in the ecological and historical reasons that may cause larvae to change form. These studies include descriptive morphology of unusual developmental patterns, phylogenetic and biogeographical analyses of larval development. These studies complement ecological and functional approaches by allowing a comparative perspective on the morphological transformations that occur during development of sea urchins and other invertebrate taxa. Recent research at OIMB includes combined laboratory and field studies examining functional and ecological links between larvae and the juveniles into which they metamorphose. We have explored how larval nutritional history impacts juvenile performance. We have studied barnacles, sea urchins and snails, all of which can show variation in larval nutritional content for different reasons. Work on these taxa to date has explored the influence of larval diet on size, growth and survivorship of early juveniles. We have emphasized field studies to evaluate the effects of diet.