backResearcher Profile

A. Richard Palmer

Job Title: Professor of Biological Sciences
Employer: University of Alberta
Place of Birth: Washington, DC, USA
Further Education: State University of Stony Brook, New York (B.Sc.), University of Washington, Seattle (Ph.D.).
Geographic focus of research: Coastal British Columbia, Chile

Brief synopsis of current research:
My students and I use comparative and experimental studies of marine invertebrate morphology and ecology to address issues of evolutionary significance: origin and maintenance of morphological diversity, ecological and historical context of adaptation, and costs and benefits of functionally significant traits. We focus either on diverse groups (molluscs or crustaceans) or on groups pivotal to theories of higher taxon origins (hemichordates). Because of its central place in the debate over mechanisms of evolution, our ongoing research focuses mainly on the evolution of innovations. We are examining three well-defined and conspicuous morphological innovations:

1) bilateral asymmetry in metazoans in general and crustacean claws in particular,
2) shell-loss and carcinization in lithodid crabs, and
3) gill slits in hemichordate worms.

Recent Publications:

Palmer, A. R., G. M. Taylor & A. Barton. 1999. Cuticle strength and the size-dependence of safety factors in Cancer crab claws. Biological Bulletin 196:281-294.

Palmer, A. R. 1999. Detecting publication bias in meta-analyses: A case study of fluctuating asymmetry and sexual selection. American Naturalist 154: 220-233.

Palmer, A. R. 1996. From symmetry to asymmetry: Phylogenetic patterns of asymmetry variation in animals and their evolutionary significance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 93:14279-14286.

Palmer, A. R. 1996. Waltzing with asymmetry. BioScience 46:518-532.

Smith, L. D. & A. R. Palmer. 1994. Effects of manipulated diet on size and performance of brachyuran crab claws. Science 264:710-712.

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