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PLENARY SPEAKERS

ICVM 2023, Cairns Australia

Virginia Abdala, National University of Tucuman, Argentina

Movement and Biological Systems

Virginia is a comparative morphology intrigued by the effects that movement can have on the biological systems, considering different levels of the structural organization of vertebrates. She uses the most classical tools of comparative anatomy, to obtain data and analyze them in the context of broad biological questions such as the relationship between form and function.

Steve Gatesy, Brown University, USA

Taking a step back: 3-D kinematic studies spark new perspectives on skeletal and footprint form

I'm a paleontologist and comparative morphologist interested in the evolution of locomotion. I use 3-D tools to animate and quantify skeletal motion in extant taxa (birds, crocodilians, humans) and apply those insights to the fossil record (bones, footprints).


Anjali Goswami

From Development to Deep Time: Reconstructing the Evolution of Tetrapod Diversity with a Phenomic Approach

What processes shape organismal diversity over large time scales? Approaches to this question can focus on many different factors, from ecology and life history to environmental change and extinction. Uniting these factors in a macroevolutionary framework is typically complicated by differences in the sources, types and scale of data collected, but open access 3D datasets have transformed this field in recent years.  Here, I will discuss the patterns of and influences on cranial evolution across Tetrapoda using a vast 3D phenomic dataset that spans >300 million years of evolution. While most large-scale studies of morphological evolution utilise relatively limited descriptors of morphology, surface sliding semi-landmark analysis allows for detailed quantification of complex 3D shapes, even across highly disparate taxa.  We analysed morphological evolution using a dense dataset of landmarks and sliding semi-landmarks for over 1500 species of living and extinct limbed vertebrates.  Patterns of cranial organisation are generally conserved within large clades, but clear shifts are evident across.  Comparing patterns across the diversity of living and extinct tetrapods, I will discuss differences in the relative effect sizes of developmental and ecological factors on skull shape variation and rate of evolution, as well as temporal trends in shape evolution. A unified approach to data collection allows direct comparison of disparate taxa, and demonstrates that ecology, life history, extinction events, and climate are all significant influences on cranial shape, though the magnitudes of their effects vary markedly across different vertebrate classes.

Sharlene Santana, University of Washington, USA

Ecomorphological drivers of bat diversification

The adaptation to new diets is considered a major evolutionary driver of anatomical, behavioral and species diversity in mammals, but few quantitative studies have tested the impact of dietary evolution on morphological and species diversification across whole mammalian Orders. Bats are an ideal system to investigate this topic because they are exceptionally diverse in terms of number of species, craniodental morphology, diet, and sensory modalities used to locate food. In this talk, I will present major areas of research in my lab that have allowed us to understand the patterns and mechanisms of bat diversification; these studies will highlight how a combination of sensory and dietary functions shaped the evolution of bat craniodental diversity through the modification of intrinsic mechanisms and functional adaptation.


Natalie Warburton, Murdoch University, Perth Australia

Understanding the functional morphology of marsupials

Associate Professor Natalie Warburton has been working in the area of comparative anatomy and functional morphology of marsupials for the last 20 years. From the enigmatic subterranean marsupial moles to tree-climbing kangaroos, jaw muscles to tarsal bones, she has developed our understanding of marsupial anatomy and evolution through her contributions to the literature in collaboration with national and international co-workers and students. This plenary lecture will highlight some of the amazing diversity and adaptations of marsupials and ways in which studying comparative anatomy can be applied to a variety of questions.

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ICVM Plenary Speakers: About Us
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