217 - Convergent Evolution in Fish Skull Morphology with Dr. Kassandra Ford
This week Kadie chats with Dr. Kassandra Ford, an evolutionary biologist who will be starting as an Assistant Professor in the Fisheries, Wildlife, & Conservation Biology Department at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Fall 2023. Kassandra's work examines how head and skull shape relates to diet and habitat occupancy, and how these patterns have evolved over time. Her PhD and postdoctoral work largely focused on tropical freshwater fishes, but she is looking forward to expanding her research to the native fishes in the Midwest and Great Lakes! She will also be overseeing the Ichthyology Collection at the Bell Museum and assisting with outreach events to connect scientists with the public.
In this episode, we cover how Kassandra became interested in skull morphology, some recent projects on convergent evolution in freshwater electric fish, and Kassandra's plans for her new lab and work as the curator of the Ichthyology Collection at the Bell Museum.
Main point: evolution is not linear
If you'd like to reach Dr. Ford or learn more about her work, you can check out her website at kassandraford.com, find her on twitter @kassthefish, or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, read Dr. Ford's 2022 paper on convergent evolution in freshwater electric fish craniofacial morphology here!
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Thanks as always to Andrew Gialanella for the fantastic intro/outro music.
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