Flight Lab Personnel

Kristen Crandell

Kristen Crandell

Ph.D. Student

Office: Flight Lab at Fort Missoula
Email: kristen.crandell@umontana.edu

Personal Website


Ph.D. Candidate – University of Montana, Missoula
Aerodynamics, Functional Morphology, and Ecology of Avian Slow Flight
Bret Tobalske, advisor

B.A. 2009 Lewis & Clark College – Biology & Mathematical Sciences (Kellar Autumn, Advisor)
Thesis: A comparative analysis of frictional adhesion, ecology, and toe morphology in island and mainland Anolis lizards

Research Interests

My research interests involve exploring the ecological and evolutionary consequences of mechanical constraints. The application of engineering principles to animal locomotion yields accurate and testable assessments of the physical limits of an organism, which provides limits and pressures in evolutionary ecology. During my dissertation, I plan to explore the mechanics of flight from a biomechanical and evolutionary perspective. To accomplish this I will take two large approaches. The first focuses on laboratory experiments using a combination aerodynamic, kinematic, and comparative techniques. The second will involve quantifying ecology and performance in the field.

Selected Publications

Crandell, KE, and Tobalske, BW. (2011) Aerodynamics of tip-reversal upstroke in a revolving pigeon wing. Journal of Experimental Biology. 214:1867-1873.

Crandell, KE and Tobalske, BW (in press) A novel unsteady aerodynamic mechanism in avian flight. Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Losos, JB, Woolley, M, Mahler, DL, Torres-Carvajal, O, Crandell, KE, Schaad, E, Ayala-Varela, F, Herrel, A. (in press) Notes on the natural history of the little known Ecuadorian horned anole, Anolis proboscis. Brevoria.

Crandell, KE, Herrel, A, Losos, J, Autumn, KA. Micro-morphology and performance of Anolis toe pads. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50(1):e219.



Grants / Fellowships/ Awards

  • 2011-2012: NASA Montana Space Consortium Fellowship
  • 2011: NASA MSGC Symposium Best Graduate Student Presentation
  • 2010-2011: NASA Montana Space Consortium Fellowship
  • 2008: Sigma Xi Grants in-Aid of Research
  • Lewis & Clark College SAAB Research Grant

Professional Experience

Academic Positions

  • 2010-2012: NASA Montana Graduate Research Fellow
  • 2009 – present: University of Montana, Research Assistant: Flight Lab
  • 2009 – present: University of Montana, Teaching Assistant

Other Experience

2008 – 2010: Harvard University, Field & Lab Technician
Ecomorphology of Mainland Anolis Lizards
Mechanics and Ecology of Attachment and Adhesion in Anolis
Advisors: Jonathan Losos and Anthony Herrel

2007 – 2009: Lewis & Clark College, Research Technician
Frictional adhesion, ecology, and toe morphology of Anolis Lizards
Advisor: Kellar Autumn