Yonatan Munk

Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Washington

Gratuitous fieldwork shot

I'm currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in Tom Daniel's lab at the University of Washington, in Seattle. I obtained my Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, where I was co-supervised by Mimi Koehl and Robert Dudley.

I'm interested in questions related to how biological organisms interact with their physical environments. To date, I have worked on swimming in snakes, the aerodynamics of gliding ants, and the link between visual information and navigational decision making in moths.

Peer reviewed publications

Yanoviak, S.P., Munk, Y. and Dudley, R. 2011. Evolution and ecology of directed aerial descent in arboreal ants. Integrative and Comparative Biology [PDF]

Yanoviak, S.P., Munk, Y., Kaspari, M. and Dudley, R. 2010. Aerial manoevrability in wingless gliding ants (Cephalotes atratus). Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277:2199-2204. [PDF]

Munk, Y. 2008. Kinematics of swimming garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis). Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry Part A. 150(2):131-135. [PDF]

Conference presentations

Munk, Y., Wilkinson, S., and Daniel, T.. 2013. Hawkmoths of Endor: policies for obstacle navigation in Manduca sexta. SICB, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Munk, Y., Yanoviak, S.P. and Dudley, R. 2011. Directed aerial descent in canopy ants. SICB, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Munk, Y. 2010. Stability and control in gliding canopy ants. SICB, Seattle, WA, USA.

Munk, Y. 2008. Gliding ants: 3D kinematics, maneuvers and behaviors. SICB, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Munk, Y. 2007. Reactive forces in undulatory swimming with reference to the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). SICB, Phoenix AZ, USA.

Research statement

In preparation. Sort of.

Teaching experience

While a graduate student at UC Berkeley, I served as a graduate student instructor for the following courses. I was recognized as an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor in 2006.

  • IB127: Motor Control. Fall 2004.
  • BIO1B: Introductory Biology. Spring 2005.
  • IB304: Dissemination of Research. Fall 2005.
  • IB135: Mechanics of Organisms. Spring 2006.
  • IB127: Motor Control. Fall 2006.
  • IB304: Dissemination of Research. Spring 2007.
  • IB135: Mechanics of Organisms. Fall 2007.
  • IB135L: Mechanics of Organisms Lab Course. Spring 2008.
  • IB127: Motor Control. Fall 2008.

Teaching philosophy

Eventually there will be something here.

Mailing address

24 Kincaid Hall
University of Washington
Seattle WA 98195-1800


My 2013 SICB talk on hawkmoths navigating within virtual forest environments was featured in an online article for New Scientist. Link to article.

My work on gliding ants was featured in an online article for Discovery. Link to article.

Once upon a time, I wrote a little blog about my field work from Panama, in which elementary school students and other folks were encouraged to send me questions about tropical biology and insects. It was fun.