Dr Ariel Camp



B.S. in Marine Biology (2009, Hofstra University, USA)
PhD in Functional Morphology (2015, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Brown University, USA)
Postdoctoral Consultant on XROMM analysis with Prof. Cheryl Wilga, University of Alaska (2016-2017)
Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Elizabeth Brainerd, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University (2015-2018)
What’s your role in EMB?
I’m a Research Fellow funded by a BBSRC Future Leader Fellowship
 What are you currently working on?
I am studying the motion of the vertebral bones and muscles in fish, in order to understand the mechanics and evolution of the neck. Fish offer a new perspective on these questions because they lack a true neck, but may still move their heads independently and in multiple directions. I’m using biplanar X-ray video and digital bone models (XROMM and fluoromicrometry) to create 3D visualizations of how the bones and muscles of fish spines move to produce neck-like motions. I’ll use these measurements to examine the relationship between vertebral anatomy and motion, as well as the impact of a muscle’s architecture and dynamically changing shape on its function. Together, these data will help us understand how the neck may have evolved, and how vertebrate muscles produce and control motion.
How and why did you get into your current research?
As a scientist, I’m fascinated by the way animals move and how their muscles and bones work together to produce an amazing range of behaviors. I started working on the intricate anatomy and biomechanics of fish skulls as an undergraduate at Hofstra University, NY USA (2009), before completing my PhD with Beth Brainerd and Tom Roberts at Brown University, RI USA (2015). That research focused on the role of the body muscles during feeding in fish, and showed these swimming muscles were powering suction feeding. My postdoctoral research with Beth Brainerd and Cheryl Wilga continued to investigate how different fish species—and one shark!—used their body muscles to power feeding behaviors. This lead to questions about how fish use these muscles to generate neck-like motions, like bending their heads upwards when they open their mouths to feed, without having an anatomical neck. And in February 2018 I started my fellowship here at University of Liverpool to investigate those questions.
I like sketching and drawing, baking cakes, and libraries
Paperwork. Days without lunch breaks. Forgetting my coffee.