My lab focuses on the functional, morphological, ecological and evolutionary foundations of some behaviors of ectothermic tetrapods, particularly legless ones, like snakes. The behavior I have looked at most intensely is feeding behavior, but other maintenance behaviors, like drinking and locomotion, have also been examined. My primary interests lie in applying anatomical data to natural history and evolutionary problems. I am particularly interested in finding out how the highly specialized feeding apparatus of snakes has evolved. My research applies behavioral data to anatomy, basically using behavior to guide anatomical analysis. I do what I do because I like to watch living animals—both in the lab and in the field—and I have always been fascinated by animal structure and how it defines behavior. Most of the anatomical analysis is done at gross and microdissectional levels but histological data are also collected to answer specific questions when tissue organization becomes relevant.
Movement of my office and lab to smaller quarters in 2013 terminated my role as a graduate advisor. However, I still advise undergraduate research students. They explore a variety of functional and morphological projects, broadening my perspectives (and, hopefully, theirs as well), and periodically producing enough data for publication
Cundall, D., A. Deufel, and F. Irish. 2007. Feeding in boas and pythons: motor recruitment patterns during striking, pp 169-197. In: Biology of the Boas and Pythons, R. W. Henderson and R. Powell (eds.), Eagle Mountain Publishing.
Buckley, C. A., J. E. Schneider, and D. Cundall. 2007. Kinematic analysis of an appetitive food-handling behavior: the functional morphology of Syrian hamster cheek pouches. J. Exp. Biol. 210:3096-3106.
Pattishall, A. and D. Cundall. 2008. Dynamic changes in body form during swimming in water snakes, Nerodia sipedon. Zoology 111:48-61.
Cundall, D. and F. Irish. 2008. The snake skull, pp. 349-692. In: Biology of the Reptilia, Vol. 20, Morphology H, C. Gans, A. S. Gaunt, and K. Adler (eds.). Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, NY.
Cover Article for the journal, and reviewed in the New Scientist, on the Discovery Channel Canada, and on CBC's nightly current events radio show "As It Happens", which is carried by some NPR stations.
Close, M., S. Perni, C. Franzini-Armstrong, D. Cundall. 2014. Highly extensible skeletal muscle in snakes. J. Exp. Biol. 217, 2445-2448.
Cundall, D. 2014. Review of “How Snakes Work: Structure, Function, and Behavior of the World’s Snakes” by Harvey B. Lillywhite. Herp. Rev. 45:363-366.
Cundall, D., A. Deufel, G. MacGregor, A. Pattishall, and M. Richter. 2016. Effects of size, condition, measurer and time on measurements of snakes. Herpetologica 72, 227-234.
The Cundall Lab, 2015
Kaitlyn Ruffing, currently exploring research opportunities while examining whether snakes might select the part of their prey they strike.
Hugh Bartlett, planning a project examining the effects of various environmental changes and feeding on heart function in snakes. His snake companion is a small Boa constrictor.
David Cundall, Ph.D., Professor
Charlotte Weisberg, examining the plasticity of prey handling behavior in arboreal species of snakes.
Leidy Guzman, exploring the anatomical basis of arboreal clinging capaabilities in snakes.
Courses taught by Professor Cundall
BioS 121 - Core II: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Co-taught with Professor Itzkowitz
BioS 234 - Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
A dissection lab is part of the course and counts for two credits of advanced lab.
BioS 313 - Vertebrate Histology
A microscope-based lab is built into the course and counts for two credits of advanced lab. The course coveres cell and tissue organization of all vertebrate (including human) organ systems.
BioS 314 - Vertebrate Development
A microscope-based lab is built into the course and counts for two credits of advanced lab.
BioS 329/429 - Herpetology
The course involves one-day weekend field trips for the first six weeks and varied lab experiences. Counts for one credit of advanced lab.
I also participate in the following:
When asked, I have taught the following: