Meeting Abstract

S3-1  Friday, Jan. 4 08:00 - 08:30  Energy flow in elastic structures: not so unusual OLBERDING, JP*; AZIZI, E; DEBAN, SM; ROSARIO, MV; Univ. of California, Irvine; Univ. of California, Irvine; Univ. of South Florida; West Chester Univ.

The past two decades have seen significant advances in our understanding of energy flow in organismal movements, particularly in the role of elastic structures mediating energy flow to amplify or attenuate power, or to recover energy during cyclic movement. While initially studied in a handful of extraordinary systems, storage of energy in elastic structures is now recognized as broadly integral to organismal movement. The role of energy transfer between the organism and environment is also recognized as critical to understanding movement, including impact mechanics during striking, energy exchange with substrates, and even movement actuated by external energy sources. This symposium will explore the diverse ways in which energy flows between structures in a vast array of organismal movements. Here we present evidence that the use of elastic structures may be more widespread in vertebrate musculoskeletal systems than previously believed and that such mechanisms may play a critical role in movements other than “extreme performance”. Hybrid in vitro computer models of frog hind limbs reveal that storage and release of elastic energy does not require radically modified morphology, but simply the presence of sufficient elastic structures. Additionally, examination of tongue projection in plethodontid salamanders reveals that the evolution of elastic energy storage may require only relatively simple morphological changes to existing structures, particularly the elaboration of elastic structures. Energy moving through elastic structures may be expected in any system where such a structure is present, even if power is not amplified or attenuated beyond muscle capabilities. Mediation of energy flow by elastic structures may be critical for timing of movements and may optimize work done by muscle.