Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology to Convene Annual Meeting

Scientists will present research on marine biodiversity, climate change, animal behavior, and rapid evolutionary changes

CHARLESTON, S.C., Dec. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, one of the oldest and most prestigious interdisciplinary biological organizations, will hold its annual meeting at the Charleston Area Convention Center in Charleston, SC, from Jan. 3 to Jan. 7, 2012.  More than 1500 scientists will present the latest research on animal ecology, evolution, physiology, neurobiology, and biomechanics, offering journalists a rich assortment of news and feature possibilities.

Experts from a wide array of different disciplines will convene at the meeting to discuss topics relevant to marine biodiversity, climate change, animal behavior and neurobiology, and rapid evolutionary changes.  In addition to presentations of the latest research, the conference will include events with societal implications, such as a special lecture on evolution, education, and creationism over the past decades. 

This year, the SICB highlights three society-wide symposia:

  • The Impacts of Developmental Plasticity on Evolutionary Innovation and Diversification
  • Novel Methods for the Analysis of Animal Movement
  • Dispersal of Marine Organisms 

The Impacts of Developmental Plasticity on Evolutionary Innovation and Diversification
Ecologists, evolutionary biologists, physiologists, and developmental geneticists discuss Developmental Plasticity—how animals grow differently, from zygote to adult, due to changes in their environment.  For example, young male dung beetles with access to plentiful food supplies grow large horns to fight other males, allowing for eased access to females.  Conversely, male beetles with limited food do not grow horns and instead develop alternative ways to access females.  Scientists think that such plasticity helps organisms to evolve rapidly and also promotes the formation of new species.  But no one fully understands what sorts of environmental changes promote plasticity, or what genetic and physiological changes actually cause animals to grow differently. 

Novel Methods for the Analysis of Animal Movement
Scientists consider new ways to understand animal and cell movements, including cell movements in the earliest stages of embryo formation, insect flight, insect migration, and whales turning and diving.  Experts in genetics, biomechanics, and ecology will present computational approaches that rely on data from microscopy, high-speed video, and radar and satellite imaging. 

Dispersal of Marine Organisms
A diverse group of scientists talk on patterns of marine animal dispersal throughout the oceans. To explain the diversity and ecology of ocean species, these researchers will examine how tiny larval organisms can find suitable habitats in which to live. These methods of movement can include  swimming or crawling, drifting with ocean currents, or hitching a ride on larger animals on drifting seaweed, or on boats.  This symposium assembles an interdisciplinary group of outstanding young and established speakers to address dispersal in marine organisms in order to foster integration and cross-talk among different disciplines and to identify gaps in scientific knowledge and areas for future research. 

SOURCE Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology




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