Timothy M. Casey

Email: tca@rci.rutgers.edu


My interests and training are in the area of comparative physiological ecology, with emphasis on activity energetics, biomechanics, and thermoregulation. Operating at the organismal level environment and also apply this information to the ecology and evolution of the species. My major research emphasis has been an interdisciplinary analysis of insect flight energetics. The thrust of this work is to combine biomechanical and fluid dynamic principles with measured energetic, morphometric, muscle ultrastructural and physiological data for free flying insects. Standard physiological experiments measure the energy expenditure and muscle function during flight, facilitating comparison of flight of different insects and other powered aircraft. The approach is powerful because it evaluates the applicability of aerodynamic theory to the explanation of force generation during flight (a biophysical/physiological question), while providing quantitative predictions of power requirements, energy expenditure and flight performance of flying insects based on their morphology (a question having important physiological and ecological implications, and potentially great economic importance since many pest species migrate). More recently I have launched a major research effort into analysis of the ecological energetics and thermal biology of caterpillars. The caterpillar work has blossomed into an integrated examination of physiological organization of several pest species which vary widely in their natural history, behavior and ecology. Providing more precision on the physiology of caterpillars allows interpretation of adaptive strategies of pests.

Research Projects

  • Mechanics and energetics of flying insects
  • Ecological energetics and thermal physiological ecology of caterpillars

Recent Publications

  • Casey, T.M. and C.P. Ellington, Energetics of Insect Flight. In: "Energy Transformations in Cells and Animals" W. Wieser and E. Gnaiger Ed., George Thieme Verglag, Stuttgart, pp. 200-212 (1989).
  • Ellington, C.P., K.E. Machin and T.M. Casey. Oxygen consumption of bumblebees in free forward flight- no power curve. Nature 347, No 6292, 472-473 (1990).
  • Casey, T.M. Energetics of Caterpillar locomotion: constraints of a hydraulic skeleton. Science 252, 112-114 (1991).
  • Casey, T.M. Energetics of Locomotion. In: Mechanics of Animal Locomotion (R.McN.Alexander ed) Adv. Comp. & Environ. Physiol. 11:251-275 (1992)

Research Interests and Expertise

energetics, thermoregulation, biomechanics, temperature, insects