Lisa Whitenack

Department: Biology, Geology
Teaching: Investigative Approaches in Biology, Organismal Physiology and Ecology, Biostatistics
Research: Paleobiology, Biomechanics, Anatomy
Degrees: B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Ph.D., University of South Florida

Contact Info

Phone: (814) 332-2888
Website: Click here

Office Info

Office Location: Steffee Hall B.105

Student Office Hours:
Mondays: 9 – 11 am
Thursdays: 9:30 – 11:30 am
Fridays: 9 – 11 am

Research Interests

My general research interest is on the evolution of shape. My main focus is on functional morphology, the relationship between form and function, in extinct and extant organisms. My primary tool for this is biomechanics, the application of engineering techniques to determine how organisms perform mechanical functions, the design of morphological systems, and the relationship of these to the organism’s environment. I also use shape as a diagnostic tool for species delimitation in the fossil record via geometric morphometrics, as well as determining paleoecological relationships. My research has historically concerned teeth and jaws of sharks and other fishes, the biomechanics of marine gastropods and their predators, and jumping mechanics of salamanders.

Potential comp projects in my lab could concern invertebrate or vertebrates; extinct or extant; biomechanics, morphometrics, or paleoecology. Previous comp topics in my lab include sexual dimorphism in macaque monkeys and great horned owls, northern pike bite force, bluegill feeding kinematics, and biomechanics of various aspects of locomotion in fishes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, and humans. A complete list of comps from my lab can be found at: