Meeting Abstract

S7-1  Sunday, Jan. 6 07:45 - 08:00  Biomechanics as a Pacemaker for Evolutionary Diversity MUNOZ, MM*; PATEK, SN; MUNOZ, Martha; Virginia Tech; Duke

All biological motion is dependent on the fundamental laws of physics. Mechanical rules shape how organisms can move, feed, and reproduce, thus impacting all aspects of evolutionary fitness. Here we discuss how the field of evolutionary biomechanics has developed into a deeply quantitative and integrative science, resulting in a much richer understanding of how physics impacts the dynamic process of evolution. Novel technologies are revolutionizing evolutionary biomechanics. New imaging methods and computing infrastructure allow the generation, storage and analysis of vast quantities of photographs, 3D scans and videos. Analytical approaches are accelerating by the development of machine learning techniques and crowd-sourcing platforms. Concomitantly, evolutionary analysis of the data, which requires the building of large time-calibrated phylogenies, is being facilitated by Next Generation Sequencing and rapid advances in comparative phylogenetic methods. Now, more than ever, we are couching major biomechanical patterns – power amplification, many-to-one mapping, mechanical sensitivity, to name a few – in a macroevolutionary framework. Combined, these developments are rapidly elucidating the governing principles that causally, and predictably, link physics to phenotypic diversity.