Karly E. Cohen

I'm a PhD student at the University of Washington studying the functional morphology of trophic novelties in fishes. My work uses a wide range of techniques from statistical modeling to histology to uncover trends in physics and evolution of fish mouths.  

Current research

Functional Homodonty and the conical tooth

If teeth all look the same we refer to them as homodont, and when they look different we refer to them as heterodont. However these measures of shape alone miss a great deal of variation within conical teeth. Looking at the selective pressures of load and stress we are creating statistical models to see how function enforces particular tooth shapes.  

Ontogeny of specialized filtering plates in silver carp

Silver carp are invasive filter feeders able to eat particles of food as small as 5 microns. This research looks  at the development and functional morphology of the filtering apparatus in silver carp. Looking at the morphology through classical anatomical techniques and micro-CT we  hope to answers questions about how silver carp are able to out compete filter feeders across trophic levels. 




Fluid dynamics of filter feeders  

Filter feeding fishes capture particles of food using a variety of mechanisms. this work focuses on filter feeding Asian carp and how their filtering mechanism differs from those previously described. 

Otocephalan epibranchial organs  

Eating small particles of food is hard. Fishes have to retain and aggregate particles in an efficient way. Epibranchial organs have independently evolved at least six times and are food aggregating structure found in certain teleosts. Morphologically complex and diverse this work analyzes the functional morphology of epibranchial organs to see how and why they different in form and function.