Online Program Schedule

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Session Schedule & Abstracts

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Sunday 3rd July, 2016

Symposium: Interdisciplinary and evolutionary approaches to vertebrate biological materials 4

Room: Salon B   4:30 pm–5:30 pm

Moderator(s): M. Dean, A. J. Crosby, D. Irschick, & L. Li
MAT4-1  4:30 pm  Biological attachment mechanisms; from dry to wet: examples and applications. Ditsche P*, University of Washington; Stark A, University of Louisville; Irschick D, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Abstract: Attachment devices enable animals to move around or stay in place. The context in which attachment occurs however can be more complicated. While gravity and inertia rule the world of the gecko, fly and monkey, flow forces act on detaching stream and intertidal animals such as limpets or clingfish. To overcome these detachment forces, a variety of attachment mechanisms have evolved, including glue, friction, suction and mechanical interlocking. Some of these mechanisms show considerable differences in air and under water. Additionally, the concept of a submerged adhesive event and one that is dry is neither clear-cut nor simple. For example, a gecko's toe that adheres to a leaf seems to be a clear case of terrestrial adhesion, but depending on humidity there could be a monolayer of water on the leaf's surface, or there might be a patch of standing water on the leaf after rainfall. Here we discuss the attachment mechanism of two well investigated examples: geckos and clingfish. Geckos use a dry, van der Waals-based adhesive system. Small, hair-like projections allow geckos to cling strongly to virtually any substrate, however in the presence of surface water, adhesion becomes highly substrate dependent. On the other hand, aquatic clingfish use a ventral suction disc with specialized hierarchical structures to attach to wet substrates of a wide range of surface roughness. While there have been hundreds of gecko-inspired synthetic adhesives, many cannot capture all of the remarkable abilities of the natural system. Further, as our knowledge of the natural system grows, new applications, such as reusable and submergible adhesives, are only just being investigated. In contrast, bio-inspired adhesives that mimic the clingfish are still in the prototype stage of development. We believe that advancement in bio-inspired synthetics relies on an improved understanding of the natural system which focuses on both the ecology and evolution of these remarkable attachment mechanisms.

MAT4-2  5:00 pm  Mechanisms, evolution and biomimicry of color-producing nanostructures in birds and other dinosaurs. . Shawkey MD*, University of Ghent
Abstract: Colors in animals can be produced by wavelength-selective absorption by pigments, or by scattering of light by nanostructured tissue. The latter offers a highly labile system that enables production of colors (e.g. blue) and color effects (e.g. iridescence) not easily attainable by pigments alone. Here I will first discuss how these colors are produced at the nanometer scale, using examples of color types spanning the visual spectrum and including both chromatic and achromatic colors. I will then discuss their evolutionary patterns (including some hints from the fossil record) and their potential effects on avian diversification. Finally I will describe our use of these materials as inspiration for new color-producing materials, including both non-iridescent and iridescent coatings.

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