Vertebrate Biomechanics and Marine Science
Associate professor Bennett's current research is in vertebrate biomechanics and fish biology. Biomechanical and functional morphology studies include an analysis of kangaroo and bandicoot locomotion and body structure to investigate the evolution of bipedal hopping gaits. Other studies include an ontogenetic analysis of musculoskeletal development in birds with different growth strategies, to explore the rate limiting factors for skeletal growth. Other research in the laboratory is examining the morphology of the pelvic limbs of birds from a functional and evolutionary standpoint. I am involved in a number of collaborative projects looking at the mechanical properties of bones, from frogs and rats to humans. Research involving fishes includes work on the stress responses of teleost and elasmobranch fishes, with particular emphasis on the possible effects on reproduction. Other studies focus on sharks and rays of Moreton Bay and the southern Great Barrier Reef. Our research group is examining the biology of a number of species, with particular emphasis on examining how populations respond to changes in habitat (human interference). I am also involved in a collaboration that is examining the morphology, behaviour and physiology of a biomodal, air-breathing fish, the tarpon.