SICB Annual Meeting 2016
January 3-7, 2016
Oregon Convention Center - Portland, OR

Symposium: A bigger picture: organismal function at the nexus of development, ecology, and evolution

What links the ontogenetic stability and instability of phenotypes with the patterns of morphological diversity seen across the tree of life? Comparative anatomists tend to approach this question from one of two perspectives. For key anatomical complexes (e.g., feeding apparatus, locomotor systems, sensory structures), morphological changes during ontogeny are often interpreted in functional terms and linked to their putative importance for fitness. Across larger time scales, morphological transformations in these complexes are examined through character stability or mutability during cladogenesis. Because the fittest organisms must pass through ontogenetic changes in size and shape, it is predicted that addressing such transformations at different time scales, from life histories to macroevolution, would illuminate major factors contributing to phenotypic diversity. This expectation is partly based on the assumption that the adult niche tightly constrains adult form. Although this could be accurate for organisms that rapidly reach and spend a substantial portion of their life history at the adult phenotype (e.g., birds, mammals), it may not always hold true for species that experience substantial growth after one or more major fitness filters during their ontogeny (e.g., some fishes, reptiles). In such circumstances, examining the adult phenotype as the primary result of selective processes may be erroneous as it likely obscures the developmental configuration of morphology that was most critical to early survival.

Given this discrepancy—and its potential to mislead interpretations of how selection may shape a taxon’s phenotype—how do we identify such ontogenetic “inertia”, and how do we integrate developmental information into our phylogenetic, ecological, and functional interpretations of complex phenotypes? This symposium is aimed at addressing the import and magnitude of ontogenetic-functional shifts within a macroevolutionary framework. Our major goals are, (1) to advance an interdisciplinary dialogue about the relationships among ontogeny, function, and evolution; (2) to identify and frame forefront questions about these relationships; and (3) to spur collaborations examining how life-history patterns relate to macroevolution along morphological and performance axes. We seek to achieve these goals by engaging a diverse group of early-career and senior researchers who span a wide range of taxonomic and disciplinary interests.

Sponsors: DCB, DVM


S10.1 Thursday, Jan. 7, 08:30 GIGNAC, Paul M*; O\'BRIEN, Haley D: Reliving the past: The ontogeny and evolution of crocodylomorph feeding success

S10.3 Thursday, Jan. 7, 09:00 WAINWRIGHT, P.C.: The ecology and evolution of organismal innovation

S10.4 Thursday, Jan. 7, 09:30 HULSEY, C. Darrin*; MEYER, A.: Evolutionary consequences of modularity in vertebrate dentitions at multiple levels of biological design

S10.5 Thursday, Jan. 7, 10:30 GOSWAMI, Anjali: The macroevolutionary consequences of phenotypic integration: from development to deep time

S10.6 Thursday, Jan. 7, 11:00 SANTANA, S.E.*; MILLER, K.E.: Analyses of bat ecomorphology at ontogenetic and macroevolutionary scales

S10.7 Thursday, Jan. 7, 11:30 BALIGA, Vikram B*; MEHTA, Rita S: The Ontogeny of Cleaning in Fishes: Scaling Patterns Underlie Shifts in Feeding Strategy.

S10.8 Thursday, Jan. 7, 13:30 HEERS, A.M.: Building a Bird: Ontogenetic and Evolutionary Construction of the Avian Body Plan

S10.9 Thursday, Jan. 7, 14:00 BHULLAR, B.-A.S.: Bird jaws and the origin of Aves

S10.10 Thursday, Jan. 7, 14:30 WILGA, Cheryl*; DINIZ, Stephanye; STEELE, Preston; TUTU, Elizabeth; SUDARIO-COOK, Jordan; GALLOWAY, Katherine: Laboratory studies: ontogeny of feeding mechanics in sharks: morphology and cartilage strain

S10.11 Thursday, Jan. 7, 15:00 HERREL, A: Do adult phenotypes reflect selection on juvenile performance? A comparative study on bite force and head morphology in lizards.