Research of the Experimental Zoology Group

The mission of the experimental zoology group is to unravel the relationships between form and function in zoological systems in a developmental and evolutionary context and to provide bioinspired solutions for technological and medical problems.

Animals are complex mechanical systems that behave, develop, and evolve on multiple timescales. Understanding their structure and function requires interdisciplinary quantitative analyses that span a range of temporal and architectural scales. In return, such analyses reveal unexpected design strategies and solutions as developed by natural selection. Reverse engineering of these solutions can help to solve similar problems of societal relevance.

We study the function of moving animals using four main research lines. See below for details about these research lines.

Research lines

We study the function of moving animals using an integrative research approach in our four research lines.
We study the function of moving animals using an integrative research approach in our four research lines.

Our current main research area is the biomechanics of motion systems in animals, with four complementary research lines (figure):

Our research is not exclusively restricted to these lines because our quantitative and deductive approach provides unique opportunities to tackle a range of important problems, such as biomechanics of tongues and sensors.

More information about our chair group can also be found on this Research page of the Wageningen University & Research.

Current research projects

Lines Projects
Biofluid mechanics Biomechanics of mosquito flight (Vidi project F.T. Muijres)
In-flight host detection of malaria mosquitoes (M. Lankheet and J.L. van Leeuwen)
How to catch a mosquito? The flight response of mosquitoes to odors and air gusts produced by odor-baited traps (PostDoc project A. Cribellier)
Bumblebees in the spotlight (PhD project L. de Vries)
Diversification of flight kinematics and morphology in Diptera (PostDoc project C.Y.A. le Roy)
Flight kinematic and behavioural study of European pied flycatcher (PostDoc project B. Yu)
Hitchhikers guide to using drones and auditory cues to scare flying moths to death in greenhouses (PhD project of D.L. Jansen)
In-flight mating in sympatric swarms of Anopheles malaria mosquito and their hybrids (PostDoc project of B.S. Poda)
Fish detection using electrical impedance measurements (PostDoc project of L.J. Nowak)
Unsteady aerodynamics of Dipteran flight (PhD project I. Govindasamy)
Bioinspired design Biological models for soft robotics (PostDoc project J.K.A. Langowski)
Biomechanics of adhesion in wet and structured environments (PostDoc project of G.J. Amador)
Ultra-thin steerable needle for solid-organ interventions (S.W.S. Gussekloo)
Cuttlefish fin and suction cup biomechanics (PostDoc project of B. Klaassen van Oorschot)
Developmental zoology Developmental biomechanics of axial muscle structure and activity patterns in larval zebrafish (PhD project of N.M.M.E. van Meer)
Opening the black box: Machine learning for Next-Level Animal Science (PostDoc project M.J. Coughlan)
Visuo-motor-control in juvenile fish (M.J.M. Lankheet)
Evolutionary biology Evolutionary ecology of placentation and superfetation in livebearing fish (Vidi project B.J.A. Pollux)
How does the evolution of placentation influence the mechanisms which drive transgenerational phenotypic plasticity? Understanding the evolution of maternal effects in the live-bearing fish family Poeciliidae (PhD project T.R. Ernst)
Why does a mother not reject her developing offspring during pregnancy? (PhD project M. Ahmed)