Cheryl Wilga

Director and Professor
Biological Sciences
CPSB 101H
907.786.1726
cwilga@alaska.edu
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cheryl_Wilga

Education

  • 1999 Postdoctoral Fellow, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, MA
  • 1999 NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine
  • 1997 Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Ford Foundation Fellow, University of South Florida
  • 1992 B.Sc., Biological Sciences, Summa Cum Laude, CIRI Scholar, University of South Florida
  • 1990 A.A., Biology, Summa Cum Laude, Valedictorian, CIRI Scholar, University of Alaska Kodiak

Research Interests

Learn more about The Functional Morphology Laboratory
My research interests center on the functional morphology and evolution of behaviors that are key to individual survival, such as feeding, ventilation, and locomotion in vertebrates. I use the comparative approach to investigate how transformations in the morphology of a musculoskeletal system affect its function.

  • Functional morphology and evolutionary biology of organisms
  • Comparative anatomy and physiology
  • Biomechanics of feeding, ventilation and locomotion
  • Predator-prey interactions

Publications

Selected Publications 

Balaban*, J.P., Summers, A.P., and C.D. Wilga. 2014. Material properties of the hyomandibula in four shark species. J. Exp. Zool., In Press.

Ramsay*, J.B., Wilga, C.D., Tapanila, L., Pruitt#, J., Pradel$, A., Schlader, R., D.A. Dominique. 2014. Eating with a Saw for a Jaw: Functional Morphology of the Jaws and Tooth-Whorl inHelicoprion davisii. J. Morphol. In Press.

Maia*, A. and C.D. Wilga. 2013. Comparative anatomy and dorsal fin muscle activity during turning maneuvers in two shark species. J. Morphol., 274:1288-1298.

Maia*, A., and C.D. Wilga. 2013. Function of dorsal fins in bamboo shark during steady swimming. Zoology. 116:224-231.

Dolce*, J.L., and C.D. Wilga. 2013. Evolutionary and ecological relationships of gill slit morphology in extant sharks. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 161:79-109. 

Tapanila, L., J. Pruitt#, A. Pradel*, C.D. Wilga, J.B. Ramsay*, R. Schlader, and D.A. Didier. 2013. Jaws for a spiral-tooth whorl: CT images reveal novel adaptation and phylogeny in fossilHelicoprion. Biology Letters, 9:20130057.

Maia*, A.M.R., C.D. Wilga, and G.V. Lauder. 2012. Biomechanics of Locomotion in Sharks, Skates and Rays. 2012. In Biology of Sharks and their Relatives (eds. J.C. Carrier, J. Musick, and M. Heithaus). 2nd edition. CRC Press: Boca Raton.

Wilga, C.D., A.A. Stoehr#, D.C. Duquette#, and Rebecca M. Allen#. 2012. Functional Ecology of Feeding in Elasmobranchs. Env. Biol. Fish. 95:155-167.

Wilga, C.D., A. Maia*, S. Nauwelaerts$, and G.V. Lauder. 2012. Prey handling using whole body fluid dynamics in batoids. Zoology. 115:47-57.

Career History/Work Experience

2011-2015: Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston
2009-Present: Research Associate, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. CV reviewed by MCZ faculty and reappointed in 2014.
2009: College of Environment and Life Sciences Research Excellence Award
2005-2011: Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston
2000-2005: Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston
2002-2004: Associate Faculty, Shoals Marine Laboratory, Cornell University and University of New Hampshire
1999-2000: Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, Cambridge
1997-1999: NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Irvine.
1992-1997: Dissertation Research, University of South Florida, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow.
1995-1996: Teaching Assistant: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Animal Physiology, Biometry, University of South Florida. 
1992-1993: NSF Research Assistant, Independent Research, University of South Florida.
Professional Awards
2013: Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Award for Excellent Service as Chair of the Broadening Participation Committee
2009: College of Environment and Life Sciences Research Excellence Award
2009-Present: Research Associate, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. CV reviewed by MCZ faculty and reappointed in 2014.
 
Recent External Grants
2014: NSF IOS. Collaborative Research: Strain in Cartilaginous Fish Skeletons. $692,587. 6/1/14 to 5/31/17. Lead PI, Wilga ($342,092 to URI); PI Betsy Dumont, UMA Amherst; PI Lara Ferry, UAZ. 
2013: NSF Meeting: Broadening Participation at the Society for Integrative and Organismal Biology in Austin Texas In January 2014. $25,000. 12/15/13 to 11/30/14. PI Wilga, Co-PIs Nishiguchi and Tsukimura.
2012: NSF MRI. Acquisition of a digital particle image velocimetry system for studying fluid flow around organismal, robotic, and marine structures. $295,755. 09/01/12 to 08/31/13. PI Wilga, CO-PIs Susan Menden-Deuer, Donna Meyer, and Jason Dahl. 
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