3rd to 7th August 2014


The Role of Ontogeny in Phylogenetic Reconstruction

The study of ontogeny as an integral part of understanding the pattern of evolution dates back more than 150 years to Fritz Müller and Ernst Haeckel. Recently have ontogenetic data been more and more incorporated into phylogenetic analyses. Taken together, data from ontogeny and phylogeny can reciprocally illuminate many areas of research, such as homologies and heterochronies in body plan evolution, reconstructing stem and ancestral states, and resolving deep phylogenetic questions.

Organizer: Jo Wolfe (American Museum of Natural History, New York, (USA)


Rudolf A. Raff (Indiana University, USA): Evolution of developmental mode in sea urchins: transcriptome studies of a hybrid between a direct and an indirect developing sister species reveal extensive gene regulatory changes.
Andreas Wanninger (Universität Wien, Austria): EvoDevo and its bearing on molluscan phylogeny.
Jo Wolfe (American Museum of Natural History New York, USA): The influence of ontogeny on phylogeny: evidence from morphology, simulations and phylogenomics.

Development and Morphology of Mesodermal Derivatives

Mesoderm is one of three embryonic germ layers and is giving rise to important organ systems such as kidney, blood, coeloms, circulatory systems, skeletons, and musculature. This symposium focuses on the embryonic development of the mesoderm (specification, establishment as separate germ layers, cell type differentiation) and the organization into organ systems such as gonads, circulatory systems and coeloms. Special focus will be on cell types different than musculature (coeloms, circulatory systems, blood) and on developmental processes including regeneration.

Organizer: Andreas Hejnol (Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, Bergen, Norway)


Carmen Andrikou (Stazione Napoli Anton Dohrn; Italy): Evolution of a Gene Regulatory Network Driving Muscle Development: Insights from sea urchins.
Chris Lowe (Stanford University, USA): The deep deuterostome origins of mesoderm induction and patterning; a hemichordate perspective.
Christian Wirkner (Universität Rostock, Germany): Starting to understand the circulatory organs in protostomes.
Supported by the company of biologists

Neurophylogeny: Evolution of Nervous and Sensory Systems

The diversity and complexity of nervous systems and sensory structures is continuing to attract the interest of morphologists. Studies of these systems inform large-scale phylogenetic analyses across animal taxa and illustrate the intricacies of the evolution of the most complex animal organ system. The symposium will emphasize detailed comparative studies of nervous systems and sensory structures from a variety of invertebrate taxa, demonstrating technical, methodological, and conceptual advances and identifying emerging research directions.

Organizers: Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa (Universität Hamburg; Hamburg, Germany), Thomas Stach (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany)


Anders Garm (University of Copenhagen, Denmark): Eye evolution seen with cnidarian eyes.
Carsten Müller (Universität Greifswald, Germany): Multimodal microscopic approaches do need TEM research - Examples from sense organs and epidermal glands in various understudied invertebrate taxa.
Julia Sigwart (Queen's University, North Ireland): It's only a model: Seeking an osphradium in more obscure molluscs.

Origin of Morphological Novelties

How do new and complex traits evolve? The emergence of morphological novelties is still a widely neglected topic in contemporary biology despite its manifest importance in the theory of evolution. Developmental genetics has made significant contributions to the topic in recent years, but is in itself unable to explain the whole phenomenon. This requires an integrative approach, one which unites many biological disciplines at various levels of analysis.

Organizer: Günther Pass (Universität Wien; Wien; Austria)


Daniel Jackson (Universität Göttingen, Germany): Biomineralisation: an ancient morphological novelty that supported the evolution of the Metazoa.
Günther Pass (Universität Wien; Austria): Of novelty, recruitment and development: evolution of insect wings and their hearts.
Günther Wagner (Yale University, USA): Morphological novelties are novel homologues: development, genes and natural selection.

Life Cycles and Nervous System

The symposium would focus on several topics important in understanding metamorphosis including cellular and genetic mechanisms of neural development (apoptosis, dedifferentiation) during the transitions in life history stages (trochophore to veliger or pilidium, nymph to adult, nauplius to zoea), changes in sensory system innervation from planktonic larva to benthic adult, changes in neuromuscular innervation/organization from larva to adult, and of course a broader evolutionary view on conservative mechanisms or patterns in invertebrate metamorphosis.

Organizers: Katrine Worsaae (University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen ,Denmark), Rick Hochberg (University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA)


Gáspár Jékely (Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany): Neuroendocrine regulation of settlement in the annelid Platynereis.
Fabian Rentzsch (Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, Norway): Development and molecular identity of the apical organ of the anthozoan Nematostella vectensis.
Elena Voronezhskaya (Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology, Russia): Serotonergic system during pre-neural development, larval stages and adulthood: a link between generations.

eMorphology: Ontologies, New Standards, and Semi-automated Data Collection and Analysis

Computer applications are becoming more and more important for collecting, storing, managing, sharing, visualizing, annotating and analyzing data and accompanying media files. Morphologists are starting to participate in this process and are developing respective tools. We show how ontologies, in particular, provide a new framework for conducting morphological and taxonomic descriptions and discuss their impact on morphological research.

Organizers: Lars Vogt (Universität Bonn, Bonn,Germany), Andrew Deans (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA)


Marymegan Daly (Ohio State University, USA): Next-generation phenomics for the Tree of Life.
Andrew R. Deans (Pennsylvania State University, USA): Semantic annotation and the future of phenotype data.
Matthew Yoder (University of Illinois, USA): Computing with phenotypic diversity using semantic descriptions.

Pushing the Limits – Advances in Microscopy and its Applications in Zoomorphology

Over the last few decades the discipline of zoomorphology has benefitted substantially from developments in methodology. Confocal microscopy, micro-computed tomography, serial section 3D-processing or cryotomography – to name only few – have provided access to novel approaches and also raised the efficiency of conventional morphological research enormously. Technical progress, however, is continuing and techniques such as 2-photon microscopy, block-face SEM, nanotomography with a resolution to sub-cellular level as well as elastic alignment of physical section data have only been established in recent years. Thus, many morphologists may not be familiar with such techniques and their resulting opportunities. This symposium is intended to provide an insight into such new methodology.

Organizers: Peter Michalik Universität Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany), Bernhard Ruthensteiner (Zoologische Staatssammlung, München, Germany)


Michael Heethoff (Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany): Because animals move: 4D-highspeed-tomography of living arthropods.
Jim McNally (Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, Germany): Cryo X-ray Tomography: 3D cellular ultrastructure without chemical fixation or staining.
Stephan Saalfeld (Janelia Farm Research Campus, USA): Open Source software for large-scale elastic serial section alignment.
Pavel Tomancak (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden, Germany): Light sheet microscopy as a tool for studying invertebrate developmental morphology.
Supported by zeiss

Morphology Transdisciplinary

Morphology as study of structure, form, and transformation is not restricted to biology. On the contrary, morphology as a discipline is found in such diverse disciplines as mathematics, geology, geography, linguistics, psychology, art history among others. This symposium aims at bringing some of these disciplines together in order to find similarities in questions, approaches, and methods between the various morphologies.

Organizers: Matthias Bruhn (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany), Gerhard Scholtz (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin Germany)


Antonia Reindl (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany): Mental principles underlying the categorization of crustaceans by biology experts and non-experts.
Giovanna Targia (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Italy): The morphological method in art history.
Uli Westphal (Berlin, Germany): Elephas anthropogenus
Lars Zeige (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany): Linguistic morphology

Peer Review Workshop

Journal of Morphology is launching a Reviewer Mentoring Program to guide researchers who have not reviewed before or reviewed infrequently on how to evaluate manuscripts that have been submitted for publication and what editors look for in making decisions. This program consists of two key elements (1) Reviewer Workshop and (2) reviewing articles under mentorship. We are undertaking this because we feel the journal has a responsibility to provide support for peer review, and this will help cultivate a skilled network that will speed up decision-making for authors and also help promote quality contributions. Pre-registration is required. Click here for more information.

Organizers: Wiley Publishing and Journal of Morphology


Wiley Associate Publisher and Matthias Starck, Editor, Journal of Morphology (Germany)

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