Richard R. Strathmann
Fellow: Awarded 1980
Field of Study: Organismic Biology & Ecology
Competition: US & Canada
I am interested in why the diverse patterns of animal development have evolved as they have instead of in other ways. Most of my research has concerned functional requirements and constraints for embryos and larvae of marine animals. My studies have included the faster development of less protected embryos, ways that oxygen supply and habitat limit parental protection of embryos, disadvantages of dispersal by the planktonic larvae with the greatest potential for dispersal, the differing compromises between swimming and feeding that have shaped larvae, and biased evolutionary transitions in modes of development. These phenomena arise because of the advantages of unicellular bottlenecks in the lives of multicellular organisms, another topic of interest. But what is endlessly entertaining is the beauty and variety of changes from eggs through embryos, larvae, and metamorphosis. In these and other studies I have benefited from continued instruction from diverse organisms, students, and my wife, Megumi F. Strathmann. Support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and other sources expanded opportunities for that instruction. I have been on the faculty of the University of Washington since 1973 and was Resident Associate Director of the Friday Harbor Laboratories from 1973 to 2009, with some leave time for travel to other shores.