Animal Biomechanics Group
Convenor: Peter Aerts (University of Antwerp)
Deputy convenor: Graham Askew (University of Leeds)
Biomechanics is the application of mechanical principles to biological systems, ranging from the molecular to the organismal level and including the interactions with the environment. As such, the Animal Biomechanics Group of the SEB brings together scientists of a wide variety of disciplines, such as zoologists, botanists, molecular biologists and kinesiologists but also mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists.
From a fundamental biological point of view, biomechanical analyses provide a strong explanatory tool in evolutionary morphology and ecology. Understanding how mechanical principles or biomaterial properties assist or constrain biological form and/or function is essential to obtain causal insights in the outcome of the process of adaptation through natural selection and so into biodiversity. Obviously, comparative biomechanics (as the above approach is often called) strongly overlaps with other fields such as ecology, physiology, developmental biology and paleontology.
Although the SEB Animal Biomechanics Group has a strong focus on comparative biomechanics, those working in more applied biomechanics are very welcome. A few illustrative examples may encourage you to join the meetings of our group:
biomimetics is a hot topic in engineering and relies heavily on profound biomechanical analysis of both plants and animals
neuromechanicists investigate how musculoskeletal dynamics interact with neural control, linking biomechanics with fundamental neurosciences and motor control as well as with more applied biomedical or sport sciences.