[MARMAM] 20th Biennial Workshop: Structural-functional shifts in marine mammals, present and past

Ewan Fordyce ewan.fordyce at otago.ac.nz
Tue Sep 10 03:59:37 PDT 2013

20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals
Workshop: Structural-functional shifts in marine mammals, present and past
Sunday 8 December

Marine mammal evolution has involved structural changes that are profoundly different from those of terrestrial mammals. In all marine mammals, many changes reflect the initial invasion of water. Other structural changes occurred in later history, sometimes linked to major ecological shifts involving, for example, feeding, diving, vision, and acoustics. The success of some clades – in terms of taxonomic and ecological diversity – plausibly reflects such structural changes. Yet other structural changes involved simplification or losses in, for example, limbs and feeding apparatus. For at-risk species, and for extinct clades known only from fossils, one might consider the roles of “bad genes” (structural blind alleys) or “bad luck.”  Recent phylogenetic studies based on morphology and molecules of living species, and fossils, provide a continually refined framework on which to consider structural-functional changes and ecological shifts.

We seek contributions that consider structural and ecological shifts conferring “success” or extinction, whether based on direct observations of modern structures, on molecular approaches, or on fossils. The programme will involve talks of 15 minutes, with opportunities for discussion. 

Interested to present your work? If so - 
- Deadline for abstracts is Friday 11 October
- Email your abstract to Ewan Fordyce, ewan.fordyce at otago.ac.nz
- Abstract should be formatted as for the main Biennial meeting (length 300 words maximum) to optimise production of a printed abstract volume
- Indicate whether you are presenting a talk or poster at the main meeting
- Abstracts will be subject to review

Associated with the workshop (day, time and venue to be finalised), we hope to make available for viewing a neonate pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata, partly dissected to show some of the musculoskeletal system and viscera. This is in planning stage at present; those indicating interest in the workshop will be emailed an update nearer the time. 

Register formally through the SMM Biennial website.

Organisers: R Ewan Fordyce (University of Otago), and postgrad students, postdocs and associates in Otago's Cetacean Evolution Research Group:
Robert Boessenecker
Joshua Corrie
Carolina Loch
Felix Marx
Moyna Müller
Yoshihiro Tanaka
Cheng-Hsiu Tsai

R. Ewan Fordyce
Professor, Department of Geology
University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, NZ

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