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Diana Li

Diana Li (see my website for more)
Ph.D. Candidate in Biology - Stanford University
A. B. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology - Princeton University (2013)

I study how squid swim and the ways that the physical environment influences their swimming. As highly active animals, squid swim to find food and mates, migrate, and escape threats. The success of these behaviors shapes their abundance and distribution in the oceans, and their locomotion in turn is impacted by changes in the environment (e.g. temperature, oxygen availability, and fluid dynamic interactions between their bodies and the water as they swim through the ocean).
My research focuses on the neurophysiology and biomechanics of squid locomotion. Depending on the project, I use in vivo neural recordings, particle image or particle tracking velocimetry, and a variety of other techniques to pursue the following questions that span across these areas:
  • How does low oxygen availability impact adult squid swimming and its underlying neural mechanisms? To what extent can individuals recover after exposure to low oxygen?
  • What role do each of the parallel neural pathways in adult squid play in determining jet wake structure, and thus thrust generation during jetting? (in collaboration with Dr. Ian Bartol at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia)
  • How do vortex rings found in the wake structure of jets from squid hatchlings contribute to thrust generation? (in collaboration with Dr. Kakani Katija at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California and Dr. Eric Edsinger at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts)
Besides research, scientific education and engagement are important to me. I seek opportunities to teach and guest lecture in courses, mentor students, and lead outreach activities through our lab's program, Squids4Kids.