Insect Biomechanics: How physical constraints affect insects

events hall

Dr. David Labonte




Biologists are concerned with life, and engineers study technology. Biomechanics is where both meet, as it is the study of the technology of living things. No living creature, no matter how complex, can escape the laws of physics. In my research, I exploit these universal constraints to study the performance, behaviour and evolution of various organisms. In this talk, I will illustrate with three examples how mechanical insights can help understand complex biological phenomena: (i) The ability of insects to run with sticky feet; (ii) The hierarchical topography of plant surfaces which are slippery to insects; (iii) The foraging behaviour of leaf-cutter ants.