Research Starter Grant: Scaling of Walking Mechanics in Dogs Grant

Research Starter Grant: Scaling of Walking Mechanics in Dogs .


  • The management of energy use is critically important in the lives of animals, and consequently understanding how energy is used when animals walk is a major goal in evolutionary biology. Although many animals have been shown to achieve high levels of energetic efficiency while walking and running by using energy saving mechanisms, it is possible that in some situations other needs prevent animals from saving energy. For example, the need to maintain stability while walking on branches or the need to approach a prey item without being detected may have greater survival consequences than increased energy use. A comparison of walking energetics between members of the dog and cat families provides an ideal opportunity to investigate some of these performance tradeoffs in detail. Previous research has revealed that domestic cats walk inefficiently compared to domestic dogs and that footfall patterns that promote stability contribute to this poor energy recovery. In contrast, dogs have been found to be highly energetically efficient while walking. These differences may be associated with differences in hunting strategy or simply body size. By using a combination of force plate measurements, motion analysis, and measurements of oxygen uptake on dogs of different sizes, this project will begin to dissect the effects of hunting style and body size on the energetics of walking.Florida International University is an urban, Latino majority research institution with a high proportion of first-generation college students. Opportunities will be made available for women, minorities and other underrepresented groups as undergraduate research assistants, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers.

date/time interval

  • July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 1032371