SICB Annual Meeting 2020
January 3-7, 2020
Austin, TX

Symposium S9: Applied Functional Biology: linking ecological morphology to conservation and management

The goal of the symposium is to reveal how basic science can inform other disciplines whose goals are more practical or applied. A substantial (and growing) number of researchers, particularly those who attend the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), work at the interface of organisms and their environment. Too often, academic scientists overlook insights that organismal, or functional, biologists can bring to the understanding of natural history, ecology, and conservation of species. Likewise, natural resource managers are mainly concerned with population sizes, while often ignoring key functional traits that might explain fluctuations in population size. Our intention for this symposium is: 1) bring to light current and future research efforts in functional and ecological morphology that can address issues of concern to wildlife management and conservation, and 2) show how such studies can result in measurable outputs useful to regulatory agencies. Symposium topics will reveal past, present, and/or future collaborations between functional morphologists/ biomechanists and conservation/wildlife biologists. Presenters will demonstrate specifically how data gathered principally to address fundamental academic questions regarding the causes and consequences of organismal form and function can also help address issues of conservation and wildlife management.  

Sponsors: SICB Co-Sponsoring Divisions DAB, DCB, DEE, DNNSB, DVM


  • Lance McBrayer
  • Eric McElroy
  • Diego Sustaita


7:45-8:00 Eric McElroy ( Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston “Introduction: Applied functional biology: linking ecological morphology to conservation and management”

8:00-8:30 Cynthia Thompson ( Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences, Grand Valley State University “ Getting Humans off Monkey’s Backs: Can Ecophysiological Research Inform Primate Conservation and Habitat Management Efforts?”

8:30-9:00 Sarah Kienle ( Postdoctoral Researcher, UCSC Long Marine Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz "Linking functional morphology, behavior, and ecology to understand the foraging strategies of an endangered marine mammal"

9:00-9:30 Robbie Wilson ( Associate Professor, The School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland "Using performance to predict the survival of threatened mammals"

  9:30-10:00  Coffee break

10:00-10:30 Jeanette Wyneken ( Professor of Biological Sciences, Director, FAU Marine Lab at Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex, Florida Atlantic University “ Basic Science in support of conservation and management”

10:30-11:00 Anthony Herrel ( Researcher, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle “ Frogs, climate change and invasive species: the importance of functional traits in assessing the expansion of invasive species”

11:00-11:30 Lance McBrayer ( Associate Dean of Faculty & Research Programs, College of Science and Mathematics, Georgia Southern University “ To know the organism, is to know the environment: Reciprocity among organismal biologists, conservation, and management”

11:30-12:00 Joseph R. Mendelson III ( Director of Research, Zoo Atlanta and Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology "The interface of taxonomy, systematics, and conservation"

12:00-1:30  Lunch

1:30-2:00  Jens De Meyer ( Postdoc, Gent University "Saving the European eel: how (morphological) research can help in effective conservation management"

2:00-2:30 William Ryerson (, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Saint Anselm College "Captive breeding alters head morphology and behavior in reptiles: implications for headstarting and reintroduction programs.”

2:30-3:00 Rita Mehta ( Associate Professor, UCSC Long Marine Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz "Predator-prey relationships inside and outside a Marine Protected Area around Catalina Island”

3:00-3:30 Clinton Moran ( Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, The Citadel “ Key findings from studies of anatomy, physiology and behavior of the imperiled cyprinid fishes of the Southwestern United States”

  3:30  End session

Courtesy of Lance McBrayer
Courtesy of Jens De Meyer
Courtesy of Diego Sustaita
Courtesy of Lance McBrayer
Courtesy of Eric McElroy
Courtesy of Chris Vinyard
Courtesy of Clinton Moran
Courtesy of Lance McBrayer
Courtesy of Diego Sustaita
Courtesy of Clinton Moran
Courtesy of Diego Sustaita
Courtesy of Sarah Kienle
Courtesy of Katie Smith
Courtesy of Kyra Reisenfeld
Courtesy of Kyra Reisenfeld
Courtesy of Anthony Herrel
Courtesy of Willem Hillenius
Courtesy of William Ryerson
Courtesy of Donald Miles
Courtesy of Donald Miles