Team Diver at Moorea Gump Research Station
Coconut Beach - Lizard Island, Australia
Off to sea, French Polynesia
Returning to the boat after a day of work
Searching for mantis shrimp in North Carolina
Mantis shrimp habitat in Panama
Scientific diving on the forereef in French Polynesia
Off to work, Lizard Island, Australia
Field work in French Polynesia
Spiny lobster molt skin

The primary goal of research in the Patek laboratory is to examine the dynamic interplay between evolutionary processes and physics. We address this issue in two broad systems - evolutionary physiology of communication in the sea and the evolutionary dynamics of fast animal movements - with most projects focusing on arthropods. Our tools range from high speed videography and acoustics to phylogenetics and physiology. Click Here To Read More


  • Brooke Sauer (left) is a high school science teacher at the Durham School of the Arts.  She is funded by our National Science Foundation CAREER Award's Research Experience for Teachers program.  Brooke is working on curriculum development through hands-on evolutionary principles modules.... Read More
  • PBS Newshour broadcast a commentary by Patek about the importance of discovery science in the context of congressional budget criticisms of basic research.   For invertebrate biology fans, please note that the "seaslug" shown in the commentary slideshow is actually a sea cucumber (... Read More
  • Jeff LaCosse, a local Jordan High School teacher and a 2015 NSF Research Experience for Teachers fellow in the Patek lab published a paper with Patek lab postdoc Phil Anderson and NCSU engineer Mark Pankow.  This project, funded by Patek's NSF CAREER award, examined the scaling of puncture.... Read More
  • Duke Undergraduate Dani Smith, Patek Lab postdoc Phil Anderson (now at U. Illinois) and Patek published a paper appearing in the journal Evolution and Development.  Anderson PSL, Smith DC, Patek SN. 2016. Competing influences on morphological modularity in biomechanical systems: a case study... Read More