SICB Annual Meeting 2018
January 3-7, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Symposium: Illuminating the Evolution of Endocrine System Variation Through Large-Scale Comparative Analyses

Hormones are central regulators of organismal function and flexibility, mediating the expression of an array of phenotypic traits from early development through senescence. Hormones play critical roles in many important processes, including coping with environmental fluctuations and challenges, responding to social interactions, and mediating life history investment. Yet despite these crucial roles, basic questions about how, when, and why hormone systems evolve remain unanswered. When do different environments select for differing endocrine phenotypes? Why are endocrine traits often remarkably variable within populations and life history stages? Do rapid endocrine responses enable greater flexibility in behavior or other phenotypic traits? Can hormonal phenotypes predict the ability of a species to invade novel environments, or persist in changing environments?

This symposium will highlight the power and potential of using large data sets, emerging phylogenetic comparative methods, and new analytical frameworks, to test these and other questions of broad relevance to biological research. Central to this approach is the ability to access and analyze the multitude of endocrine data that have been collected over the past several decades, across diverse taxa. The organizers of this symposium, together with other collaborators, are in the final stages of producing a large database of hormone variation across vertebrates. This database, HormoneBase, includes all un-manipulated measures of plasma glucocorticoids and androgens from free-living adult vertebrates. In conjunction with this symposium, HormoneBase – which is supported by a database development team with expertise in online data archiving – will be made publicly and freely available to the global scientific community, to facilitate research into the function and evolution of hormones and the traits they mediate.

Sponsors: DAB, DCE, DCPB & DEE


  • Maren Vitousek, Cornell University
  • Michele Johnson, Trinity University


S6-1 Friday, Jan. 5, 08:00 JOHNSON, MA*; HUSAK, JF; VITOUSEK, MN; KNAPP, R; HORMONEBASE CONSORTIUM, : The Evolution of Endocrine System Variation: A Large-Scale Comparative Analysis of Androgens

S6-2 Friday, Jan. 5, 08:30 VITOUSEK, MN*; JOHNSON, MA; MILLER, ET; DOWNS, CJ; MARTIN, LB; HAU, M; HORMONEBASE CONSORTIUM, : Glucocorticoid evolution: a comparative analysis across vertebrates

S6-3 Friday, Jan. 5, 09:00 FRANCIS, CD*; HORMONEBASE CONSORTIUM, ; FRANCIS, Clinton: Metabolic scaling of stress hormones across birds and mammals

S6-4 Friday, Jan. 5, 09:30 CASAGRANDE, S*; GARAMSZEGI, LZ; HAU, M; GOYMAN, W; HORMONEBASE CONSORTIUM, ; CASAGRANDE, Stefania: Glucocorticoid changes across life history stages: a comparative approach

S6-5 Friday, Jan. 5, 10:30 FUXJAGER, M.J.*; MILLER, E.T.; HORMONEBASE CONSORTIUM, : Macroevolutionary Patterning of Androgen and Glucocorticoid Levels Across the Vertebrate Phylogeny

S6-6 Friday, Jan. 5, 11:00 GARAMSZEGI, LZ*; HORMONEBASE CONSORTIUM, : Phylogeny and diversification: levels of glucocorticoid hormones and speciation rate in birds

S6-7 Friday, Jan. 5, 11:30 SCHOENLE, LA*; ZIMMER, C; MILLER, ET; VITOUSEK, MN: Is variation in glucocorticoid regulation associated with fitness? A phylogenetic meta-analysis.

S6-8 Friday, Jan. 5, 13:30 WINGFIELD, JC: Environmental Endocrinology: Field and Laboratory Investigations of Mechanisms in Life Cycles.

S6-9 Friday, Jan. 5, 14:00 MARTIN, LB*; FLOCK, T; VITOUSEK, MN; HORMONEBASE CONSORTIUM, : Vertebrate glucocorticoid regulation varies with introduction history

S6-10 Friday, Jan. 5, 14:30 GUINDRE-PARKER, S.*; RUBENSTEIN, D.R.: Coping with environmental uncertainty using the avian glucocorticoid response

Complementary Session: Session 1