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Jonathan Codd is currently a Senior Lecturer in Integrative Vertebrate Biology and member of the Computational and Evolutionary Biology research grouping within the Faculty of Life Sciences. His research has focussed on functional constraints during breathing and locomotion in mammals and birds. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in animal biology from the Flinders University of South Australia (1997), a Master of Science degree in animal physiology from The University of Adelaide (2001) and a Ph.D from the University of Bonn (2004) working with Prof. S.F. Perry on the physiology and mechanics of ventilation in birds. After completion of his PhD, Jonathan undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Bonn (2004-5) where he developed his interests in respiratory biology.

In 2005 Jonathan moved to the UK to take up his Lectureship position within FLS. his research group has been built with ongoing funding from The Leverhulme Trust, BBSRC and NERC. 

Jonathan has organised several symposia and conferences on respiration and locomotion and is a member of the Society for Experimental Biology and The Anatomical Society.

Research interests

I am an integrative zoologist whose research team examines the comparative physiology and biomechanics of vertebrates. We are particularly interested in understanding how constraints have shaped the respiratory and locomotor systems of birds and mammals. We use a range of in vivo and ex vivo techniques to answer the questions stemming from our research:

Mechanics of Ventilation: the avian respiratory system is remarkable in terms of its complexity and efficiency. The evolution of this system with its unique lung morphology and physiology has contributed to birds becoming one of the most successful vertebrate lineages. The uncinate processes are bony ossified projections that extend posteriorly from the proximal edge of the vertebral ribs in most species of extant birds. These processes are integral to the mechanics of ventilation; playing a key role in both inspiration and expiration by acting as levers for rib and therefore sternal movement. We have recently demonstrated and continue to investigate how morphological variations in these processes demonstrate that constraints placed on the body by adaptations to different forms of locomotion. Our research indicates that adaptations are key to understanding differences in how birds breathe.

Biomechanics - the energetics and kinematics of locomotion: terrestrial locomotion of birds (and animals in general) is subject to morphological (kinematic) and physiological (energetic) constraints. We have a long-standing interest in understanding how these constraints influence the way and costs associated with animal movement. Recently we have begun to understand the impacts of differential loading, seasonal adaptations and how sexual selection drive differences in locomotor energetics and kinematics.

Avian Welfare: the poultry industry is massive and accounts for over 30% of the meat eaten worldwide; a conservative estimate of around 30-40 billion birds consumed each year. These domesticated birds are commonly selected for rapid growth rates and an increased edible muscle mass. However, selection for these traits is widely assumed to have led to a range of associated health problems. Using our comparative approach in both ventilatory mechanics and locomotor biomechanics we are investigating the underlying causes of welfare issues in poultry. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, University of Bonn

Award Date: 13 Oct 2004

Master in Science, The University of Adelaide

Award Date: 1 Nov 1997

Bachelor of Science, Flinders University of South Australia

Award Date: 1 Nov 1996

External positions

External Examiner for Biology & Zoology, University of Southampton

Areas of expertise

  • QL Zoology
  • biomechanics
  • QP Physiology
  • energetics
  • Respiratory


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