Dan Riskin

Adjunct Professor


I am broadly interested in the functional consequences that result from morphological diversity. Using experimental biomechanics in the lab and in the field, I seek to understand how differences in body shape among species influence differences in performance. Bats present an ideal system for this research, because while all >1200 species possess body plans that permit flight, subtle variations in body shape underlie striking diversity in almost every aspect of behaviour and ecology.

Past projects have focused on the influence of body size on flight kinematics, the biomechanics of landing on a ceiling, the influence of body shape on walking ability, and other topics. My current research at the University of Toronto Mississauga is focused on the functional link between echolocation and flight.  I perform my research there in collaboration with Dr. John M. Ratcliffe.


Riskin, D. K., Bergou, A. Breuer, and S. M. Swartz. 2012. Upstroke wing flexion and the inertial cost of bat flight. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Riskin, D. K., J. Iriarte-Díaz, K. M. Middleton, K. S. Breuer, and S. M. Swartz. 2010. The effect of body size on the wing movements of pteropodid bats, with insights into thrust and lift production. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213: 4110-4122.

Parsons. S., D. K. Riskin}, and J. W. Hermanson. 2010. Echolocation call production during aerial and terrestrial locomotion by New Zealand's enigmatic lesser short-tailed bat, Mystacina tuberculata. Journal of Experimental Biology. 213: 551-557.

Riskin, D. K., and P. A. Racey. 2010. How do sucker-footed bats hold on, and why do they roost head-up? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 99: 233-240.

Riskin, D. K., J. W. Bahlman, T. Y. Hubel, J. M. Ratcliffe, T. H. Kunz, and S. M. Swartz. 2009. Bats go head-under-heels: The biomechanics of landing on a ceiling. Journal of Experimental Biology. 212: 945-953.

Riskin, D. K., D. J. Willis, T. L. Hedrick, J. Iriarte-Díaz, M. Kostandov, J. Chen, D. H. Laidlaw, K. S. Breuer, and S. M. Swartz. 2008. Quantifying the complexity of bat wing kinematics.  Journal of Theoretical Biology. 254: 604-615.

Riskin, D. K., and J. W. Hermanson. 2005. Independent evolution of running in vampire bats. Nature. 434: 292.