SURF

Lia Keener

Comparative Jumping Biomechanics of California Squirrels

Squirrels are extremely agile, comprise the second-most diverse group of rodents, and have colonized a wide range of environments across five of the seven continents, making them an ideal group in which to study the evolution of arboreal locomotion. My graduate student mentor and I are interested in understanding how their form (morphology), how they move (kinematics) and how they learn and adapt (cognition) help them navigate the complex environments they live in. Our research will involve designing and building jumping setups, field-trapping of chipmunks, camping in the Sierras, animal care, and high speed-videography and analysis.

Message to Sponsor

I am beyond grateful for this research experience this summer. I have learned many things and gained skills that I know will come in useful in my future as a scientist and learner, but I have also learned the importance of having confidence in myself as a thinker and in my abilities to learn and produce work that I am proud of. This summer I was able to practice research skills that in the past really intimidated me, and I have found joy in these things. I appreciate this research opportunity immensely because it was an incredible introduction to the research world for me, and I was able to learn and listen to my incredible mentors and my incredible SURF fellow peers. The quality and quantity of research that was conducted this summer was incredible, and I will forever be grateful and proud to have been a part of it.
  • Major: Molecular Environmental Biology
  • Sponsor: Johnson Fund
  • Mentor: Lawrence Wang