• Trinkle Professor of Biology

    Gilmer Hall, 107
    (434) 223-6326
    awerth@hsc.edu


  

Education

Fulbright Scholar, Republic of Maldives, Spring 2006

Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Department of Wildlife Management, North Slope Borough, Barrow, Alaska

Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology, Harvard University, 1992

A.M. in organismic and evolutionary biology, Harvard University, 1987

B.S. in zoology, Duke University, 1985, summa cum laude

Teaching Interests

Vertebrate functional morphology
Comparative anatomy and physiology
Evolutionary biology and paleontology
Marine biology and oceanography
Biomechanics and osteology
Mammalogy, ichthyology, and general vertebrate zoology
History and philosophy of science
Bioethics, human genomics, and human reproductive issues

Courses Taught

  • Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Vertebrate Physiology 
  • Evolutionary Theory/Population Genetics
  • Human Evolution/Physical Anthropology
  • Marine Biology
  • Evolutionary Ecology/Tropical Ecology (in Ecuador/Galapagos)
  • Organismal Biology
  • Principles of Biology
  • Vertebrate Paleontology
  • Physics of the Human Body (Biomechanics/Biomaterials)
  • Marine Mammals
  • Human Genome Project
  • Western Culture

Committee Assignments & Service to the College

Chair of Biology Department
Director of Honors Program and Chair of Honors Council
Health Science Advisory Committee and faculty advisor to PreHealth Society
Organizer of "Know Thyself: Human Genome Project" Symposium
Chair, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
President, Campus chapter of Phi Beta Kappa
President, Longwood/Hampden-Sydney chapter of Sigma Xi
Faculty rep, Duke Marine Laboratory/Marine Sciences Educational Consortium
Service on numerous other College committees (Faculty rep to Board of Trustees, President's Council, etc.)

Chair, Promotion & Tenure Committee
Chair, Academic Affairs Committee
Faculty Affairs Committee
Chair, Men's Studies Committee
Faculty oversight committee of Center for Entrepreneurship and Political Economy, and Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest
Presidential Search Committee
Science Facility Steering Committee

Most Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

Werth, A.J., C. Loch, and R.E. Fordyce. 2019. Evolution and devolution of odontocete enamel. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, DOI 10.1007/s10914-019-09484-7.

Werth, A.J., S.M. Blakeney, and A.I. Cothren. 2019. Oil adsorption does not structurally or functionally alter whale baleen. Royal Society Open Science 6(5):182194 [cover story: image from this article used on journal’s cover]

Werth, A.J., and H.R. Whaley. 2019. Ocean acidification’s potential effects on keratin protein in cetacean baleen and other integumentary tissue. Annals of Ecology and Environmental Science 3(2):21-28.

Werth, A.J., M.A. Kosma, E.M. Chenoweth, and J.M. Straley. 2019. New views of humpback whale flow dynamics and morphology during prey engulfment. Marine Mammal Science. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12614

Kosma, M.M., A.J. Werth, A.J. Szabo, and J.M. Straley. 2019. Pectoral herding: an innovative tactic for humpback whale foraging. Royal Society Open Science 6(10):e191104.

Werth, A.J., P. van de Graaf, and R. DesJardins. 2019. Preparation of full baleen racks for long-term exhibition and research. Aquatic Mammals 45(5):500-506.

Werth, A.J. 2019. Evaluating environmental threats to the trophic ecology of Arctic marine mammals. Journal of Marine Biology and Aquaculture 2(1):17-24.

Allchin, D., and A.J. Werth. 2019. How we think about human nature II: the naturalizing error. Philosophy of Science (in press).

Werth, A.J., and T.L. Sformo. 2019. Feeding morphology. In The Bowhead Whale (book in press).

Potvin, J., D.E. Cade, A.J. Werth, R.E. Shadwick, and J.A Goldbogen. 2019. Gigantism and the energetics of lunge-feeding baleen whales. American Journal of Physics (in press).

Werth, A.J., T.L. Sformo, N.S. Lysiak, D. Rita, and J.C. George. 2019. Baleen turnover and gut transit in mysticete whales and its environmental implications. Polar Biology (accepted pending revision).

Werth, A.J., and H. Ito. 2019. Whale jaw joint is a shock absorber. Journal of Experimental Biology (provisionally accepted pending revision).

Werth, A.J., H. Ito, and K. Ueda. 2019. Multiaxial movements of the minke whale temporomandibular joint. Journal of Morphology (provisionally accepted pending revision).

Werth, A.J., and D. Allchin. 2019. Teleology’s long shadow. Evolution: Education and Outreach (accepted pending revision).

Werth, A.J. 2019. Variable porosity of throughput and tangential filtration in biological and 3D printed systems. In Advances in Engineering Research, Volume 29: Porosity—Properties and Measurement, ed. V. Petrova, pp. 37-93. Hauppauge, NY, Nova Science Publishers. ISBN: 978-1-53615-902-8.

Werth, A.J., M.A. Lillie, M. Piscitelli, A.W. Vogl, and R.E. Shadwick. 2018. Slick, stretchy fascia underlies sliding tongue of rorquals. Anatomical Record 302:735-744 https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.24035

Werth, A.J., D. Rita Espada, M.V. Rosario, M.J. Moore, and T.L. Sformo. 2018. How do baleen whales stow their filter: a comparative biological analysis. Journal of Experimental Biology. [cover story: image from this article used on journal’s cover]

Werth, A.J., J. Potvin, R.E. Shadwick, M.M. Jensen, D.E. Cade, and J.A. Goldbogen. 2018. Filtration area scaling and evolution in mysticetes: trophic niche partitioning and the curious cases of the sei and pygmy right whales. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125(2):264-279 doi/10.1093/biolinnean/bly121/5085357.

Werth, A.J., and D. Allchin. How we think about human nature I: cognitive errors and concrete remedies. Provisionally accepted by Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture.

Werth, A.J. 2017. Are there limits to evolutionary explanations? Journal of Natural Sciences. 4(2):1-15.

Werth, A.J. 2017. Baleen. In: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals 3e, ed. B. Wursig, J.G.M. Thewissen, K. Kovacs, pp 60-61. San Diego: Academic Press/Elsevier.

Werth, A.J., and H. Ito. 2017. Sling, scoop, squirter: anatomical features facilitating prey transport, concentration, and swallowing in rorqual whales (Mammalia: Mysticeti). Anatomical Record 300(11):2070-2086, doi: 10.1002/ar.23606.

Potvin, J., and A.J. Werth. 2017. Oral cavity hydrodynamics and drag production in balaenid whale suspension feeding. PLoS One (Public Library of Science), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175220.

Goldbogen, J.A., D. Cade, J.A. Calambokidis, A.S. Friedlaender, J. Potvin, P.S. Segre, and A.J. Werth. 2017. How baleen whales feed: the biomechanics of engulfment and filtration. Annual Review of Marine Science 9:367-386, doi 10.1146/annurev-marine-122414-033905.

Werth, A.J., R.W. Harriss, M.V. Rosario, J.C. George, and T.L. Sformo. 2016. Hydration affects the physical and mechanical properties of baleen tissue. Royal Society Open Science 3(10):160591, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160591.

Werth, A.J., and J. Potvin. 2016. Baleen hydrodynamics and morphology of crossflow filtration in balaenid whale suspension feeding. PLoS One (Public Library of Science), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150106.

Werth, A.J., Straley, J., and R. Shadwick. 2016. Baleen wear reveals intraoral water flow patterns of mysticete filter feeding. Journal of Morphology 277(4):453-471, doi: 10.1002/jmor.20510.

Allchin, D.A., and A.J. Werth. 2016. The Naturalizing Error: Implications for Appeals to Human Nature and Self-Justifying Nature. Journal for General Philosophy of Science. 47(2):1-16., doi: 10.1007/s10838-016-9336.

[Werth, A.J. 2015. Inertia vs. freedom in faculty life: Surviving a clash between the most powerful force in the universe and the most perilous perk in academe. The Chronicle of Higher Education August 17, 2015. http://chronicle.com/article/Inertia-vs-Freedom-in-Faculty/232435/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en]

Werth, A.J. 2014. Vestiges of the natural history of development: historical holdovers reveal the dynamic interaction between ontogeny and phylogeny. Evolution: Education and Outreach 7:12:1-11. DOI: 10.1186/s12052-014-0012-5.

Werth, A.J., and W.A. Shear. 2014. The evolutionary truth about living fossils. American Scientist 102(6):434-443. [cover story: image from this article used on journal’s cover]

Werth, A.J. 2014. What makes biology tick? Invited review of In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences book (2013) by Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden. BioScience 64(9): 845-847; doi:10.1093/biosci/biu125.

Werth, A.J. 2014. Why single-sex education is a viable educational option. In What Works: Raising Boys, Engaging Guys, Educating Men, ed. L. Carpenter and C.B. Howard, pp. 38-39. Hampden-Sydney College.

Werth, A.J. 2013. Flow-dependent porosity of baleen from the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus). Journal of Experimental Biology 216:1152-1159. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.078931.

Ford, T.J., A.J. Werth, and J.C. George. 2013. An intraoral thermoregulatory organ in the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), the corpus cavernosum maxillaris. The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 296:701-708. DOI: 10.1002/ar.22681.

Werth, A.J. 2013. An evolutionary focus improves students’ understanding of all biology. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 33(1):1-18, http://reports.ncse.com/index.php/rncse/article/view/31/251.

Werth, A.J. 2012. Hydrodynamic and sensory factors governing response of copepods to simulated predation by baleen whales. International Journal of Ecology, DOI:10.1155/2012/208913.

Werth, A.J. 2012. Avoiding the pitfall of progress and associated perils of evolutionary education. Evolution: Education and Outreach 5(2):249-265. DOI:10.1007/s12052-012-0417-y.

Werth, A.J., and T.J. Ford. 2012. Abdominal fat pads act as control surfaces in lieu of dorsal fins in the beluga (Delphinapterus). Marine Mammal Science 28(4):E516-527. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2012.00567.x.

Werth, A.J. 2012. From fins to legs and back again. Invited review of Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals book (2012) by Annalisa Berta. BioScience 62(11): 996-997.

Werth, A.J. 2011. Cross-flow filtration in baleen [or, why much of what you think you know about mysticete filter feeding is wrong]. Presented at the Society for Marine Mammalogy conference in Tampa, FL, November, 2011. To be submitted to the Journal of Morphology.

Deis, E.J., S. Hardy, and A. Werth. 2009. Busting Myths about Masculinity at Hampden-Sydney College. NASPA Men and Masculinities Knowledge Community (MMKC) for “Best Practices in Programming for College Men” special issue.

Werth, A.J. 2009. Clearing the highest hurdle: Human-based case studies broaden students’ knowledge of core evolutionary concepts. The Journal of Effective Teaching 9(2):37-52 (available online at http://www.uncw.edu/cte/et/articles/Vol9_2/index.htm).

Werth, A.J. 2008. The human genome project: implications for the study of human evolution. In The Human Genome Project in the College Curriculum: Ethical Issues and Practical Strategies, ed. A. Donovan and R.M. Green, pp. 73-87. Hanover, NH, Dartmouth College Press/University Press of New England.

Werth, A.J. 2007. Adaptations of the cetacean hyolingual apparatus for aquatic feeding and thermoregulation. The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 290(6): 546-568.

Werth, A.J. 2006. Odontocete suction feeding: Experimental analysis of water flow and head shape. Journal of Morphology 267(12): 1415-1428.

Werth, A.J. 2006. Mandibular and dental variation and the evolution of suction feeding in Odontoceti. Journal of Mammalogy 87(3): 579-588.

Werth, A.J. 2005. On the benefits of teaching honors. Honors in Practice [The National Honors Report] 1(1), Fall/Winter 2005:43-48.

Werth, A.J. 2005. Evolution and development are not the same. The American Biology Teacher 67(4): 201-202.

Werth, A.J. 2004. Functional morphology of the sperm whale tongue, with reference to suction feeding. Aquatic Mammals 30(3): 405-418.

Werth, A.J. 2004. Models of hydrodynamic flow in the bowhead whale filter feeding apparatus. Journal of Experimental Biology 207, (20): 3569-3580.

Werth, A.J. 2003. Unity in diversity: The virtues of a metadisciplinary perspective in liberal arts education. [I: Seeing the entire elephant. II: Uni-, multi-, and metadisciplinary study in theory and practice. III: Cutting a magnet in two. IV: Why tolerance is a dirty word. V: On uncomfortable education, and why pain is a good thing. VI: Some practical advice on elephant observation.] The Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Fall/Winter 2003: 35-52.

Werth, A.J. 2003. Helping students cope with vast quantities of information. Benjamin Cummings Strategies for Success, Fall 2003 (Number 40), online at www.aw-bc.com/events/strategies.

Werth, A.J. 2001. How do mysticetes remove prey trapped in baleen? Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 156(1): 189-203.

Werth, A.J. 2001. Simple lessons in biomechanics and materials using everyday objects. The American Biology Teacher 63(4): 267-270.

Werth, A.J. 2000. Marine Mammals. In Feeding: Form, Function and Evolution in Tetrapod Vertebrates, ed. K. Schwenk, pp. 475-514. New York, Academic Press.

Werth, A.J. 2000. A kinematic study of suction feeding and associated behaviors in the long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melas (Traill). Marine Mammal Science 16(2):299-314.


In addition to peer-reviewed publications, Werth’s research has been profiled by journalists and science writers in print and online as well as via other media (radio, television, blogs, etc.), including but not limited to the following:

National Geographic, Smithsonian, NBC, BBC, LeMonde, Science, New Scientist, Science News, Live Science, Scientific American, Discover Magazine, Discovery Canada, Sciences Avenir: Le Nouvel Observateur, French Thermography Association, CBC (Quirks and Quarks national radio program (www.cbc.ca/quirks/), Swedish National Radio, etc.

Here is a sampling of such references:

[Dr. Werth’s biomimetics research with a team of Dutch engineers using 3D printing to study filters has been profiled on wildinblue.com at www.wildinblue.com/featured.html]

Yirka, Bob. 2019. Researchers find oil does not damage or clog whale baleen, but plastic does. Phys.org (Science X Network. https://phys.org/news/2019-05-oil-clog-whale-baleen-plastic.html

Riché, Béatrice. 2018. Des baleines qui filtrent différemment (whales that filter differently). Baleines en direct (Whales Live, Tadoussac, Quebec, Canada). https://baleinesendirect.org/des-baleines-qui-filtrent-differemment/

Holland, Jennifer S. 2017. The oral history of toothless whales. Hakai Magazine. http://bit.ly/2wvp3E2

Holland, Jennifer S. 2017. A whale’s baleen bristles reveal the story of its life. Smithsonian Magazine online. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/history-toothless-whales-180964717/

Saint Louis University. 2017. Whales on the go: The physics of baleen whales’ eating habits. Science News Daily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170606121559.htm

Ghose, T. 2017. Mystery sea monster? Nope, just a dead, stinky whale. Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/59098-decomposed-sea-monster-just-a-whale.html

NOAA. 2016. For the first time in decades, scientists examine how oil spills might affect baleen whales. NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. https://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/first-time-decades-scientists-examine-how-oil-spills-might-affect-baleen-whales.html

Helm, R.R. 2014. Why do beluga whales have love handles? Deep Sea News. http://deepseanews.com/2014/04/why-do-beluga-whales-have-love-handles/

Davies, E. 2013. Whales filter feed with a tangled hair-like net. BBC Nature News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/21755885

Lewis, T. 2013. Whales trap dinner with mouthful of swirling bristles. Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/27878-how-whale-baleen-traps-food.html

Smith, B. 2013. Whales’ baleen entangle prey with hairy bristles. Red Orbit. http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112803585/baleen-whale-teeth-entangle-prey-031413/

Knight, K. 2013. Streaming baleen tangles to trap food. “Inside JEB” commentary article written about Werth’s featured paper in Journal of Experimental Biology. http://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/7/i.2

Zimmer, C. 2013. The brain-chilling, shrimp-caressing, lamppost-sized, NSFW organ hiding in a whale’s mouth. National Geographic: The Loom blog entry (posted March 5, 2013) about Werth’s research article published in The Anatomical Record. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/04/the-brain-chilling-shrimp-caressing-lamppost-sized-nsfw-organ-hiding-in-a-whales-mouth/

Marshall, M. 2013. World’s biggest mouth has an erectile secret. New Scientist. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23252-zoologger-worlds-biggest-mouth-has-an-erectile-secret.html

McDonald, B. 2013. Penis-like organ helps bowheads keep cool. Quirks & Quarks CBC radio program broadcast, April 20, 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/episode/2013/04/20/april-20-2013/index.html#2

Pennisi, E. 1999. Coming to grips with sperm whale anatomy. Science 283(5401):475-477.

Svitil, K. 1999. The table manners of whales. Discover 20(5): 20.

Honors & Awards

Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa

Fulbright Scholar (teaching/research), Republic of Maldives: "Marine Environmental Science of Maldive Islands"

2014 NSF-funded Scientist in Residency Fellow, Sitka Sound Science Center, Sitka, Alaska

2013 Visiting Professor of Zoology, University of British Columbia

2012 awarded Charles Scott Venable endowed Professorship

2011 Harris Teaching Award from VFIC:http://www.hsc.edu/News/News-Archive/2011/Werth.htmlhttp://www.vfic.org/programs/harris_index.html

Invited to Smithsonian/NESCent workshops on Teaching Human Evolution

2010 Mettauer Research Award, H-SC
2008 Cabell Teaching Award, H-SC
2006 Fuqua Teaching Award, H-SC
2001 Crawley Teaching Award, H-SC
2002 Wye Faculty Seminar Fellow
2000 NIH Faculty Summer Fellow, Dartmouth College
1996 VFIC Mednick Fellow (research funding)
Visiting Scholar, University of Maine Darling Marine Center
Visiting Scholar, Providence College
Research funding from government of Alaska
Research funding from H-SC faculty fellowships

Professional Affiliations

Sigma Xi (Scientific Research Society)
National Association of Biolgoy Teachers, Virginia Association of Biology Teachers
National Collegiate Honors Council, Southern Regional Honors Council, Virginia Collegiate Honors Council
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
Society for Marine Mammalogy
International Society of Vertebrate Morphology
Society for the Study of Mammalian Evolution
Virginia Natural History Society

Reviewer for NSF and 20 journals

Other Interests

running & hiking
woodworking
reading & drawing
sailing
SCUBA & snorkeling
listening to music
playing & watching sports
ardent Duke basketball and (no longer!) condemned Red Sox fan

Family
wife Diane
son Colin
daughter Gwen

Research Interests and potential topics for students

Research interests: specifically, structure & function of marine mammals, especially feeding in toothed and baleen whales; biomechanics & materials science of biological tissues; 3D printing of biological structures or biological analogues; basic fluid dynamics and effects of flow on organisms; fossils & paleontology
Potential topics for students: marine biology & oceanography; anatomy & physiology; anything related to evolution (human and otherwise); science & religion; philosophy of science; bioethics; environmental issues