SICB Annual Meeting 2019
January 3-7, 2019
Tampa, FL

January 6 - Symposium S7: Comparative Evolutionary Morphology and Biomechanics in the Era of Big Data (SICB Wide)

All biological motion is guided by the laws of physics. The major features of evolutionary fitness - locomotion, feeding, and reproduction - are guided by mechanical laws. Thus, the physics of movement and the evolution of biodiversity are deeply connected. One of the major unanswered questions in biology is how causal and predictive the relationships between mechanics and phenotypic diversity are. The goal of this symposium is to highlight novel trends and discoveries in evolutionary biomechanics. Twelve emerging leaders (of various backgrounds and ranks) in the field will discuss how they are using cutting-edge methods to revolutionize our understanding of phenotypic evolution. New imaging methods allow the rapid generation, storage, and analysis of scans and videos. Machine learning techniques and crowd-sourcing platforms are accelerating the pace of data collection and pattern detection. Evolutionary analysis is being facilitated by Next Generation Sequencing and advances in comparative phylogenetics. Combined, these developments are rapidly elucidating the governing principles that causally, and predictably, link physics to phenotypic diversity. In addition to the one-day symposium, we will be hosting a networking luncheon for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers interested in evolutionary biomechanics. Students will be paired with symposium speakers in small groups, with the explicit goal of helping students plan their next career steps and forge new research collaborations. Our goal is to catalyze an emerging interdisciplinary research network and encourage a new generation of scientists in evolutionary biomechanics.



  • Martha Muñoz
  • Samantha Price


S7-1 Sunday, Jan. 6, 07:45 MUNOZ, MM*; PATEK, SN; MUNOZ, Martha: Biomechanics as a Pacemaker for Evolutionary Diversity

S7-2 Sunday, Jan. 6, 08:00 SANTANA, SE*; ARBOUR, JH; CURTIS, AA; STANCHAK, KE: Integrating Traditional and Modern Approaches to Study Morphological Evolution in Bats: Where Is The Point of Diminishing Returns?

S7-3 Sunday, Jan. 6, 08:30 EVANS, KM*; WILLIAMS, K; WESTNEAT, M: Do coral reefs act as a crucible for morphological innovation? A critical reappraisal of the effect of coral reef habitats on the evolution of morphological diversity in wrasses in the era of big data.

S7-4 Sunday, Jan. 6, 09:00 WRIGHT, Natalie A*; WITT, Christopher C; TOBALSKE, Bret W: Biomechanics of Flight Across the Avian Tree

S7-5 Sunday, Jan. 6, 09:30 MARTINEZ, CM*; MCGEE, MD; BORSTEIN, SR; SPARKS, JS; WAINWRIGHT, PC: Scaling Up Kinematics: A Geometric Approach for Studying the Evolution of Biological Motions

S7-6 Sunday, Jan. 6, 10:30 BRIGHT, JA: A Holistic Approach to the Evolution of Feeding in Birds

S7-7 Sunday, Jan. 6, 11:00 MCHORSE, BK*; BIEWENER, AA; PIERCE, SE: Modeling the Causes and Consequences of Digit Reduction in Extinct Horses

S7-8 Sunday, Jan. 6, 11:30 BALIGA, VB*; MEHTA, RS: Macroevolutionary insights from independent origins of cleaning behavior around the world: synthesizing morphology, ecology and biogeographic patterns

S7-9 Sunday, Jan. 6, 13:30 SHERRATT, E*; SANDERS, KL: Tiny heads: the evolution of microcephalic sea snakes

S7-10 Sunday, Jan. 6, 14:00 FELICE, RN*; TOBIAS, JA; GOSWAMI, A: How Dietary Niche Shapes Macroevolution in the Avian Skull

S7-11 Sunday, Jan. 6, 14:30 PRICE, SA*; CORN, KA; FRIEDMAN, ST; LAROUCHE, O; MARTINEZ, CM; ZAPFE, K; WAINWRIGHT, PC: The fish shapes project. Harnessing the power of data science, museum collections and undergraduate researchers to quantify body shape evolution across teleost fishes.

S7-12 Sunday, Jan. 6, 15:00 ALFARO, ME*; KARAN, EA; CHANG, J; WOO, LK; ALFARO, Michael: High Throughput Phenoscaping for Comparative Studies