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  • UC Riverside
  • College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Matthew J. Van Sant

M.S. Life Sciences, Indiana State University
Advisor: George S. Bakken

First-year Ph.D. student in Physiology

Initial Guidance Committee Chair: Kimberly Hammond

I am primarily interested in the physiology of endotherms. For my Master’s thesis, I investigated thermoregulation in mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) ducklings while swimming in adverse weather conditions. Duckling mortality is high shortly after hatching and field observations suggest that much of this mortality is attributable to hypothermia, especially after storms. My research focused on the thermoregulatory ability of ducklings during exposure to cold, wind, and rain in the laboratory to determine proximate causes of weather-related mortality. I also developed a method for predicting core body temperature using non-invasive infrared thermography. I am currently investigating possible Ph.D. projects to study adaptations of small mammals to high elevation and/or desert habitats.


Banta, M.R., A.J. Lynott, M.J. Van Sant, and G.S. Bakken. 2004. Partitioning heat loss from mallard ducklings swimming on the air-water interface. Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 4551-4557. [PDF file]

Bakken, G.S., M.J. Van Sant, A.J. Lynott, and M.R. Banta. 2005. Predicting small endotherm body temperatures from scalp temperatures. Journal of Thermal Biology 30: 221-228. [PDF file]

Van Sant, M.J. and G.S. Bakken. Partitioning heat loss from swimming mallard ducklings to water: down vs. legs and feet. In preparation. To be submitted to Journal of Experimental Biology.



Last updated 10 Oct. 2005 by T.G.