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

January 6 - Symposium S8: Multifunctional structures and multistructural functions: Functional coupling and integration in the evolution of biomechanical systems

The goal of functional, organismal biologists is to understand how the parts of an organism affect the organism’s ability to persist in a given environment. However, the structures of an organism often interact in mechanically and evolutionarily complex ways to affect function, survival, and evolution. For example, many functions involve multiple structures working together, and many structures are involved with more than one function. These structures may or may not evolve together in size and shape over time. These interactions may be considered constraints on the ability to adapt and evolve over time, but they may also act to facilitate evolution if they allow multiple parts to change simultaneously in a way that favors survival. Our symposium speakers are at the forefront of addressing hypotheses of morphological integration, leveraging new tools in evolutionary statistics and physiological and biomechanical analysis to study large numbers of structures across their multiple functions.

Topics addressed by our symposium include:

Quantifying the influence of functional integration (multiple structures working together to perform the same function) on the evolution of various musculoskeletal systems.

Assessing the role of functional coupling (multiple functions sharing structures) and decoupling in the evolution of form and function, particularly the evolution of novelty.

Discussing interdisciplinary methods for analyzing the evolution of complex phenotypes that include biomechanical and physiological performance.

Establishing a shared lexicon of terms related to form-function evolution, particularly terms encompassed by the framework of morphological integration.

Determining future directions for the field, including generating new and more sophisticated hypotheses of the evolution of complex biomechanical systems that leverage recent advances in phylogenetic statistics and physiological measurements.

If you have a talk or idea that you think fits within this scope, we encourage you to submit your abstract for a complimentary session!

Sponsors: DCB, DVM, DEDB, The Crustacean Society, American Microscopical Society


  • Stacy Farina, Assistant professor, Howard University,
  • Emily Kane, Assistant professor, Georgia Southern University,,
  • L. Patricia Hernandez, Associate Professor, George Washington University


S8-1 Sunday, Jan. 6, 07:45 FARINA, SC*; KANE, EA; HERNANDEZ, LP: Multifunctional Structures and Multistructural Functions: Functional Coupling and Integration in the Evolution of Biomechanical Systems

S8-2 Sunday, Jan. 6, 08:00 STAYTON, C. Tristan: Moving beyond the peaks: combining multivariate performance surfaces in studies of ecomorphological diversification

S8-3 Sunday, Jan. 6, 08:30 FEILICH, KL*; LOPEZ-FERNANDEZ, H: What do we assume when we ask ecomorphological questions?

S8-4 Sunday, Jan. 6, 09:00 GOSWAMI, A*; WATANABE, A; FELICE, RN; BARDUA, C; FABRE, A-C; POLLY, PD: Phenomic approaches to analysing integration in complex systems and across diverse taxa: the good, the bad, and the ugly

S8-5 Sunday, Jan. 6, 10:00 FARINA, SC: Is functional coupling really so constraining? The role of coupling in the evolution of functional anatomical systems

S8-6 Sunday, Jan. 6, 10:30 FRIEDMAN, Nicholas R*; ECONOMO, Evan P: A morphological integration perspective on the evolution of dimorphism among sexes and social castes

S8-7 Sunday, Jan. 6, 11:00 EVANS, KM*; TAYLOR, S; FENOLIO, DB: Bony patchwork: Mosaic Patterns of Evolution in the Teleost Skull

S8-8 Sunday, Jan. 6, 11:30 ARBOUR, Jessica H*; CURTIS, Abigail A; SANTANA, Sharlene E: Macroevolutionary Dynamics of Cranial and Mandible Shape in Bats

S8-9 Sunday, Jan. 6, 13:30 HIGHAM, Timothy E.*; SCHMITZ, Lars; CLARK, Rulon W.: Dynamic functional Integration in organismal biology: Integrating motor and sensory systems during predator-prey interactions

S8-10 Sunday, Jan. 6, 14:00 KANE, EA*; COHEN, HE; MARSHALL, CD: Beyond Suction-Feeding Fishes: Diverse Strategies for Integrating Functional Systems During Prey Capture in Vertebrates

S8-11 Sunday, Jan. 6, 14:30 HERNANDEZ, LP*; COHEN, KE: Multifunctional structures and multistructural functions: How these phenomena characterize the evolution of morphological novelties within Cypriniformes

S8-12 Sunday, Jan. 6, 15:00 : Panel Discussion