Chris Richards

Propulsion Physiology Lab

Rowland Junior Fellow
Rowland Institute at Harvard
Harvard University
100 Edwin H. Land Blvd.
Cambridge, MA 02142
Tel: 617-497-4683
Fax: 617-497-4627
Website: Propulsion physiology lab

Muscle is a spectacularly efficient and powerful motor which drives behaviors that impress biologists and engineers alike. How do aquatic animals accelerate rapidly or maneuver precisely at high swimming speeds? Intuition tells us that high performance swimming, such as prey capture or escaping, demands high muscle power. However, we cannot often predict the muscle power required for a given swimming task. Moreover, we do not fully understand how nerves communicate with muscles to achieve the exquisite control of swimming performance seen in nature. My lab seeks to understand the physiological basis for how nature's swimming machines (e.g. frogs, fish, aquatic insects) solve the difficult engineering problem of moving rapidly through water.

Selected Publicatons

  • Richards, C.T., (2010). Kinematics and hydrodynamics analysis of swimming anurans reveals striking inter-specific differences in the mechanism for producing thrust. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213, 621-634.

  • Richards, C.T., (2008). The kinematic determinants of anuran swimming performance: an inverse and forward dynamics approach. Journal of Experimental Biology, 211, 3181-3194.