Dec 09 2011

Career

Published by at 11:56 am under Uncategorized

After completing her education, Koehl began working full time as a biomechanist, instead of just researching as a student. Some of her more interesting projects include:

  • The “Rasta Lobsta” is a robot lobster designed to locate mines underwater by using the same method of smell used by actual lobsters:  with each flick of an antenna, lobsters drag particles from the water to sensitive hairs on the ends of their antennae, which process the smell of each particle. You can read more here.


  • Dr. Koehl has helped archaeologists understand how primitive birds may have flown. By building models of some uncovered skeletons and testing them in a wind tunnel, she was able to determine which models were most aerodynamic and therefore the most probable.

  • She has helped support the theory of evolution by providing evidence of preadaptation – when organisms are developing structures that are advantageous for one reason but evolve to be used for something else. An example of this theory is that early prehistoric birds may have developed small, fluffy feathers to help them stay warm and for use in mating rituals. Later, as longer and stiffer feathers developed, these animals were able to fly. Dr. Koehl ran a series of experiments to determine how early insects may have used their wings before they were strong enough to fly. Prehistoric insects had wings too small to fly, but that were very good for catching sunlight to keep warm, giving them an advantage over insects that did not have wings.

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