I study the comparative anatomy of living and fossil vertebrates using techniques ranging from dissection and osteology (study of skeletons) to histology and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). My research focuses on fishes, but I have worked on and am interested in all major groups of vertebrates. A typical research student in my laboratory has taken at least one course with me (ideally The Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Paleontology, and Evolution , BioEE 2740). My students explore anatomical questions about a vertebrate taxon of interest. Examples of recent student projects include: studies on the structure, function, and development of fish teeth (several groups including sharks); comparative anatomy of fish skulls to discover phylogenetic characters in the arrangement of bones; and studies on the structure of tribosphenic molar teeth of opossums and shrews.
William E. Bemis
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
225 E Corson Hall
BioG 2990/4990 Credit:
Paid Work Study:
Paid Non-Work Study:
Research Activities in Which Undergraduates Participate:
Micro-CT scanning and 3-D reconstruction of anatomy; light microscopy; macro and micro photography; illustration methods; methods for exploring relevant literature; scientific writing.
Approximate Number of Students in the Lab per Semester:
Is There a Minimum Number of Hours per Week:
If So, How Many?: