Kiisa C. Nishikawa
Office: Building 21, Room 425
- biomechanics and neural control of
- Miller Fellow, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology,
University of California, Berkeley, 1985-1987
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Anatomy, Dalhousie
University, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1985
- PhD: Zoology, University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill, NC, 1985
- BS: Biology, State University of New York,
Albany, NY, 1980
The unifying theme of my research is the evolution of
behavior. My interest in how behavior evolves has led to interdisciplinary
studies in a wide range of fields, including evolutionary ecology, behavioral
neuroscience, biomechanics and muscle physiology.
My earlier work focused on the ecological and behavioral
interactions of salamanders in the Great Smoky Mountains of North
Carolina. More recent studies have
investigated the neural basis of behavior in amphibians, specifically the
swimming behavior of frog tadpoles and the visually guided prey capture behavior
My current research has three components:
- evolutionary studies of the biomechanics and neural
control of prey capture in frogs;
- studies of the more general problem of how brains and
nervous systems evolve; and
- studies of the mechanisms of power amplification in
muscles that produce ballistic movements, including prey capture and jumping in
frogs and prey capture in chameleons.
Whereas my research has focused on these questions, I have
worked on diverse projects with my graduate students whose research interests
range broadly in the areas of neuroethology, comparative physiology and
This is a frame taken from high-speed video of a toad (Bufo
woodhousii) ballistically projecting its tongue to capture a cricket. The
tongue lengthens over 200% of resting length.
Nishikawa, K.C. 1999. Neuromuscular control of
prey capture in frogs. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of
London, Biological Sciences 354:941-954.
Meyers, J.J. & K.C. Nishikawa.
2000. Comparative study of tongue protrusion in three iguanian lizards:
Sceloporus undulatus, Pseudotrapelus sinaitus and Chamaeleo jacksonii. Journal
of Experimental Biology 202:2833-2849.
Mallett, E.S., G. Yamaguchi, J.M. Birch &
K.C. Nishikawa. 2001. Feeding motor patterns in anurans: Insights from
biomechanical modeling. American Zoologist 41:1364-1374.
Nishikawa, K.C. 2002. Evolutionary convergence
in nervous systems: Insights from comparative phylogenetic studies. Brain,
Behavior and Evolution 59:240-249.
Meyers, J.J., J.C. O'Reilly, J.A. Monroy &
K.C. Nishikawa. 2004. Mechanism of tongue protraction in microhylid frogs.
Journal of Experimental Biology 207:21-31.