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Bret Tobalske, Associate Professor, Director Field Research Station

Office
Location: Health Sciences 208 and Field Research Station
Hours: Monday and Wednesday, 10:00 - 12:00, or by appointment

Contact
Phone: (406) 243 -6631
Email: bret.tobalske@mso.umt.edu


Education

Ph.D. (1994) University of Montana, Organismal Biology and Ecology

M.A. (1991) University of Montana, Zoology

B.S. (1988) Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Hobbies

Music: Playing, Composing, Recording

Outdoors:  Camping, BIking, Hiking, SCUBA

Teaching Experience

University of Portland (1999-2008)

Allegheny College (1997-1998)

Research Interests

Comparative Biomechanics, Functional Morphology, Muscle Physiology

Central to the biology of birds, bats, and insects: flight requires more power output than any other form of animal locomotion.   Ultimately, I seek to understand how flight has shaped the ecology and evolution of birds.   I use a variety of  techniques to explore the mechanisms of bird flight in both the laboratory and in the field.  Much of my recent work uses a laser-based system to measure patterns of air flow about the wings and in the wake of flying birds.  I am working to relate these flow dynamics to the in vivo muscle work and power output produced during flight.

Although my primary focus is on bird flight, I am also deeply interested in a wide array of topics in comparative biomechanics and functional morphology. I am open to advising graduate students who wish to study taxa other than birds and other forms of animal performance including swimming and feeding.  I also have an abiding interest in the conservation biology of cavity-nesting birds.

Selected Publications

Hedrick,T.L., Tobalske, B.W., Ros, I.G., Warrick, D.R. and Biewener, A.A. (2011). Morphological and kinematic basis of the hummingbird flight stroke: scaling of flight muscle transmission ratio. Proc. Roy. Soc. B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2001.2238

Heers, A.M. Tobalske, B.W. and Dial, K.P. (2011). Ontogeny of lift and drag production in ground birds. J. Exp. Biol., 214, 717-725.

Jackson, B.E., Tobalske, B.W. and Dial, K.P. (2011). The broad range of contractile behaviour of the avian pectoralis: functional and evolutionary implications. J. Exp. Biol.. 214, 2354-2361.

Crandell, K. E. and Tobalske, B.W. (2011). Aerodynamics of tip-reversal upstroke in a revolving pigeon wing. J. Exp. Biol, 214, 1867-1873.

Tobalske, B.W. Biewener, A.A., Warrick, D.R, Hedrick, T.L. and Powers, D.R. (2010). Effects of flight speed upon muscle activity in hummingbirds. J. Exp. Biol. 213, 2515-2523.

Tobalske, B.W., Hearn, J.W.D. and Warrick, D.R. (2009) Aerodynamics of intermittent bounds in flying birds. Exp. Fluids 46, 963-973.

 

Field of Study

Comparative Biomechanics

Functional Morphology

International Experience

Fulbright Fellowship (1995), France

Sabbatical (2007), France

Courses

BIO 403 - Vertebrate Design and Evolution

Publications

Tobalske, B.W. and Biewener, A.A. (2008). Contractile properties of the pigeon  supracoracoideus during different modes of flight. J. Exp. Biol. 211, 170-179.

 

Tobalske, B.W. (2007). Biomechanics of bird flight. J. Exp. Biol.210,3135-3146.

 

Tobalske, B.W. Warrick, D.R., Clark, C.J. Powers, D.R., Hedrick, T.L. Hyder, G.A.,Biewener, A.A. (2007). Three-dimensional kinematics of hummingbird flight. J. Exp.Biol. 210, 2368-2382.

Tobalske, B.W., Puccinelli, L.A. and Sheridan, D.C. (2005). Contractile activity of the pectoralis in the zebra finch according to mode and velocity of flap-bounding flight. J. Exp. Biol. 208, 2895-2901.

Warrick, D.R., Tobalske, B.W. and Powers, D.R. (2005). Aerodynamics of hovering in hummingbirds. Nature. 435, 1094-1097.

Tobalske, B.W., Altshuler, D. and Powers, D. (2004). Take-off mechanics in hummingbirds (Trochilidae). J. Exp. Biol. 207, 1345-1352.

Tobalske, B.W., T.L. Hedrick, and A.A. Biewener. (2003). Wing kinematics of avian flight across speeds. J. Avian Biol. 34, 177-184.

 

 

Tobalske, B.W., T.L. Hedrick, K.P. Dial, and A.A. Biewener. (2003). Comparative power curves in bird flight. Nature. 421, 363-366.

 

 

Hedrick, T.L., B.W. Tobalske, and A.A. Biewener (2003). How cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) modulate pectoralis power output across flight speeds. J. Exp. Biol. 206, 1363-1378.

 

Tobalske, B.W. Warrick, D.R., Clark, C.J. Powers, D.R., Hedrick, T.L. Hyder, G.A., Biewener, A.A. (2007). Three-dimensional kinematics of hummingbird flight. J. Exp. Biol. 210, 2368-2382.

 

Warrick, D.R., Tobalske, B.W. Powers, D.R. and Dickinson, M.H. (2007). The aerodynamics of hummingbird flight. Am. Inst. Aero. Astro. 2007-41, 1-5.

 

Tobalske, B.W. and Dial, K.P. (2007). Aerodynamics of wing-assisted incline running in birds. J. Exp. Biol., 210, 1742-1751.

 

Tobalske, B.W., Puccinelli, L.A. and Sheridan, D.C. (2005). Contractile activity of the    pectoralis in the zebra finch according to mode and velocity of flap-bounding flight. J. Exp. Biol. 208, 2895-2901.

 

Warrick, D.R., Tobalske, B.W. and Powers, D.R. (2005). Aerodynamics of hovering in hummingbirds. Nature. 435, 1094-1097.

 

Tobalske, B.W., Altshuler, D. and Powers, D. (2004). Take-off mechanics in hummingbirds       (Trochilidae). J. Exp. Biol.  207, 1345-1352.

 

Tobalske, B.W., T.L. Hedrick, and A.A. Biewener. (2003). Wing kinematics of avian flight across speeds. J. Avian Biol. 34, 177-184.

 

Tobalske, B.W., T.L. Hedrick, K.P. Dial, and A.A. Biewener. (2003). Comparative power curves in bird flight. Nature. 421, 363-366.

 

 Hedrick, T.L., B.W. Tobalske, and A.A. Biewener (2003). How cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) modulate pectoralis power output across flight speeds. J. Exp. Biol. 206, 1363-1378.

 

Hedrick, T.L., B.W. Tobalske, and A.A. Biewener. (2002). Estimates of circulation and gait change based on a three-dimensional kinematic analysis of flight in cockatiels  (Nymphicus hollandicus) and ringed turtle-doves (Streptopelia risoria). J. Exp. Biol. 205, 1389-1409.

 

Tobalske, B.W. (2001). Morphology, velocity, and intermittent flight in birds. Amer. Zool. 41, 177-187.

 

Warrick, D.R., B.W. Tobalske, A.A. Biewener, and K.P. Dial. (2001). Sonomicrometry and  kinematic estimates of the mechanical power of bird flight. Bull. Mus. Comp.Zool.156, 257-268.

 

Tobalske, B.W. (2000). Biomechanics and physiology of gait selection in flying birds. Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 73, 736-750.

 

Tobalske, B.W. and K.P. Dial. (2000). Effects of body size on takeoff flight performance in the Phasianidae (Aves). J. Exp. Biol. 203, 3319-3332.

 

Tobalske, C., and B.W. Tobalske. (1999). Using atlas data to model the distribution of    woodpecker species in the Jura, France. Condor 101, 472-483.

 

Tobalske, B.W., W. Peacock, and K.P. Dial. (1999). Kinematics of flap-bounding flight in the zebra finch over a wide range of speeds. J. Exp. Biol. 202, 1725-1739.

 

Biewener, A. A., W.R. Corning, and B.W. Tobalske. (1998). In vivo pectoralis muscle force-length behavior during level flight in pigeons (Columba livia). J. Exp. Biol. 201, 3293-3307.

 

Tobalske, B.W., N.E. Olson, and K.P. Dial. (1997). Flight of the black-billed magpie:variation in wing kinematics, neuromuscular control, and muscle composition. J. Exp. Zool. 279, 313-329.

 

Tobalske, B.W. (1997). Lewis' Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis). In   The Birds of North America, No. 284 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences,      Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.

 

Dial, K.P., A.A. Biewener, B.W. Tobalske, and D.R. Warrick. (1997). Mechanical power output of bird flight. Nature 390, 67-70.

 

Tobalske, B.W. and K.P. Dial. (1996). Flight kinematics of the Black-billed Magpie and Rock Dove over a wide range of speeds. J. Exp. Biol. 199, 263-280.

 

Tobalske, B.W. (1996). Scaling of muscle composition, wing morphology, and intermittent flight behavior in woodpeckers. Auk 113, 151-177.

 

Tobalske, B.W. (1995). Neuromuscular control and kinematics of intermittent flight in the European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). J. Exp. Biol. 198, 1259-1273.

 Tobalske, C. and B.W. Tobalske. (1995). Avifaune et activites humaines: Une étude de la  distribution des pics dans le Jura avec un SIG. Actes du 35Éme Colloque Interégional d'Ornithologie, Lyon, France. 154-174.

 

Tobalske, B.W., R.C. Shearer, and R.L. Hutto. (1995). Maintaining bird diversity in Western Larch/Douglas-fir Forests. In (W.C. Schmidt and K.J. McDonald, eds.). Ecology and management of Larix forests:  a look ahead. Proceedings of an international symposium; 1992 October 5-9; Whitefish, MT, U.S.A. Gen. Tech. Rep.INT-GTR-319. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Forest Service,  Intermountain Research Station. 521 p.

 

Tobalske, B.W. and K.P. Dial. (1994). Neuromuscular control and kinematics of intermittent     flight in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). J. Exp. Biol. 187, 1-18.

 

Tobalske, B.W. (1992). Evaluating habitat suitability using relative abundance and fledging success of red-naped sapsuckers. Condor 94, 550-553.

 

Tobalske, B.W., R.C. Shearer, and R.L. Hutto. (1991). Bird populations in logged and unlogged western larch/Douglas-fir forest in northwestern Montana. Res. Pap. INT-442. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 12 p.