Moving to feeding

31 October 2016 - By: Dr Nicolai Konow & Dr Nicholas J. Gidmark

Moving to feeding

By Dr Nicolai Konow U. Mass. Lowell, USA and Dr Nicholas J. Gidmark Knox College,USA

Recent studies of locomotor biomechanics have demonstrated the usefulness of detailing both the physical task of organismal performance and the physiological “currency” (force, power, work) of the underlying movements. Via this approach, researchers have clarified physiological constraints on musculoskeletal performance, but also how muscles sometimes circumvent those constraints. 

Only recently have feeding researchers begun to use this approach, and our session (kindly sponsored by the Company of Biologists) brought some of those researchers together to encourage a forward-thinking synthesis of existing work and plans for future research. The session’s emerging focus was that simple physical models and physiological phenomena, often examined in locomotion studies, hold great promise as tools for improving our understanding of feeding systems. What was also repeatedly highlighted is the importance of merging data from in vivo and in situ experiments to determine how natural system operation is constrained by the physiological relationships (force-length, force-velocity, power-velocity) of skeletal muscle. 

Hence, our session underscored the value of discovering how feeding muscles operate in vivo and how the modes of feeding and locomotor muscle contraction might be distinct, as dictated by the different physical properties of their operating environments and requirements. We anticipate a strong follow-up on these topics in the general biomechanics session of SEB 2017 in Gothenburg.

See the full programme for our 2017 Annual Meeting in Gothenburg!

Category: Animal Biology