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National Geographic television show will spotlight WKU biologist’s research

Dr. Steve Huskey, center, discusses his research with National Geographic Television producer April Chabries (right) and videographer Dave Porfiri (left) during a video shoot this week. (WKU Photo by Bryan Lemon)

Dr. Steve Huskey (center) discussed his goliath grouper research with National Geographic Television producer April Chabries (right) and videographer Dave Porfiri (left) during a video shoot this week. (WKU Photo by Bryan Lemon)

A producer and film crew from National Geographic TV have been at WKU this week working on two stories featuring research by Dr. Steve Huskey, assistant professor of biology.

The segments will air in the summer or fall of 2010 on a new National Geographic Channel show tentatively called “Wow.”

“We are focusing on unusual, amazing and unbelievable stories from around the world,” including places like Thailand, Cambodia, Kenya and WKU, said April Chabries, coordinating producer for National Geographic Television. “This campus is doing some phenomenal research. We’re selective in the stories we’re telling.”

Dr. Huskey, a functional morphologist, studies an animal’s morphological characteristics – its overall body shape and feeding mechanism, its wings or limbs, its physiology and muscle structure, its behavior – and how it uses those characteristics for survival or success in the wild.

Chabries and two freelance videographers were filming Dr. Huskey’s goliath grouper research and his construction of fully articulated skeletons.

In 2007, Dr. Huskey received a $15,000 grant from the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration for his research on the feeding behavior of the goliath grouper, the largest species of bony fish on the reefs of North America. (For more about the research, click here.)

Dr. Huskey’s research includes high-speed video analysis that shows the goliath grouper’s feeding habits and territorial interactions. “This research is visually unique and groundbreaking,” Chabries said. “We think our viewers will enjoy it.”

A snake skeleton is among the specimens on display in the "bone room" at Thompson Complex North Wing. (WKU Photo by Bryan Lemon)

A snake skeleton is among the specimens on display in the "bone room" at Thompson Complex North Wing. (WKU Photo by Bryan Lemon)

The National Geographic crew spent time filming and discussing the goliath grouper work in Dr. Huskey’s research lab in the Complex for Engineering and Biological Sciences. For his research on skeletal articulations, they spent time in the “bone room” in Thompson Complex North Wing.

Among the items filmed were skeletons of turkeys, fish, snakes, moles, ground squirrels and more. The crew even set up a time-lapse camera to capture the process of dermestid beetles doing their work to clean the skeletons of two moles.

As he described the various specimens, Dr. Huskey discussed how having the fully articulated skeletons can provide insights into the form and function of how the animal feeds and moves.

For a WKU Scholar magazine story on Dr. Huskey’s research, click here.

Contact: Steve Huskey at (270) 745-2062.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. National Geographic Comes to Western « WKU | Visuals - August 10, 2009

    [...] known about the anatomy of these gigantic aquatic creatures. For more of the story go to Westerns News Blog, but for now I hope you stay and enjoy a selection of images from that event. (Oh and did I mention [...]

  2. View from the Hill: National Geographic TV to feature WKU work « WKU News - October 13, 2009

    [...] from the Hill: National Geographic TV to feature WKU work Jump to Comments Dr. Steve Huskey’s grouper and skeleton research has caught the attention of National Geographic producers. Stories on both will be included in a [...]

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