University Senior Lecturer
Tel.: +44 (0)1223 763435
My research interests are at the interface between comparative biomechanics and ecology with a focus on the mechanisms of how animals cling to surfaces and insect-plant interactions. Our group studies the biophysics of insect surface attachment, the adaptations of insects to solve the conflict between adhesion and locomotion as well as specialised insect-plant interactions where mechanical factors play a dominant role (Macaranga-ant mutualisms as well as interactions of insects and Nepenthes pitcher plants).
We use a variety of methods ranging from force measurement at different size scales, morphometry, interference/fluorescence and electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and 3D high speed motion analysis. In addition to experimental laboratory work, we study insect-plant interactions in the field in SE Asia (Malaysia and Brunei).
- Federle W , Brainerd EL, McMahon TA, Hölldobler B (2001) Biomechanics of the movable pretarsal adhesive organ in ants and bees. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA98: 6215-6220
- Federle W , Riehle M, Curtis ASG, and Full RJ (2002) An integrative study of insect adhesion: mechanics and wet adhesion of pretarsal pads in ants. Integ. Comp. Biol.42: 1100-1106
- Federle W , Baumgartner W, Hölldobler B (2004) Biomechanics of ant adhesive pads: frictional forces are rate- and temperature-dependent. J. Exp. Biol.207: 67-74
- Federle W , Endlein T (2004) Locomotion and adhesion: dynamic control of adhesive surface contact in ants. Arthropod Struct. Devel.33: 67-75
- Bohn HF, Federle W (2004) Insect aquaplaning: Nepenthes pitcher plants capture prey with the peristome, a fully wettable water-lubricated anisotropic surface. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101 : 14138-14143
- Federle W, Rheindt F (2005) Macaranga ant-plants hide food from intruders: correlation of food presentation and presence of wax Barryrs analysed using phylogenetically independent contrasts. Biol. J. Linn. Soc.84: 177-193
- Federle W (2006) Why are so many adhesive pads hairy? J. Exp. Biol. 209: 2611-2621
- Federle W , Barnes WJP, Baumgartner W, Drechsler P, Smith JM (2006) Wet but not slippery: boundary friction in tree frog adhesive toe pads. J. R. Soc. Interface 3: 689-697
- Drechsler P, Federle W (2006) Biomechanics of smooth adhesive pads in insects: Influence of tarsal secretion on attachment performance. J. Comp. Physiol. A192: 1213-1222
- Bartsch MS, Federle W, Full RJ, Kenny TW (2007) A multi-axis force sensor for studying insect biomechanics. J. MEMS 16: 709-718
- Endlein T, Federle W (2008) Walking on smooth or rough ground: passive control of pretarsal attachment in ants. J. Comp. Physiol. A 194: 49-60
- Bauer U, Bohn HF, Federle W (2008) Harmless nectar source or deadly trap: Nepenthes pitchers are activated by rain, condensation and nectar. Proc. R. Soc. B 275: 259-265