“Oddball Science”: Why do scientists study weird things?
Why would anyone study animal genitalia? Isn’t that weird?
Why do scientists study topics that do not always have a direct application?
What is the difference between basic and applied science?
How much money do we spend in science?
Why should we care about science budgets?
Prof. Patricia Brennan is interested in the morphological evolution of genital morphology in vertebrates, and the mechanisms that drive genital diversification, sexual conflict in particular. She has a BSc in Marine Biology from her native Colombia, where she studied cardiac physiology of marine mammals. She went on to work in the Galapagos Islands aboard a research vessel (R/V Odyssey). Brennan completed her Ph.D. dissertation at Cornell University, where she studied the breeding biology and reproductive system of the Great Tinamou (Tinamus major), a basal bird from South America related to the ostrich. During this time she developed an interest on post-copulatory selection in birds, and went on to do her post-doctoral work on genital and sperm traits in ducks. Her current interests have expanded to understanding genital evolution in vertebrates, in particular examining female genital morphology and coevolution. She worked as a research professor at Umass Amherst before joining the faculty at Mount Holyoke College.
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