Ecological morphology examines the relation between an animal's anatomy and physiology—its form and function—and how the animal has evolved in and can inhabit a particular environment. Within the past few years, research in this relatively new area has exploded. Ecological Morphology is a synthesis of major concepts and a demonstration of the ways in which this integrative approach can yield rich and surprising results.
Through this interdisciplinary study, scientists have been able to understand, for instance, how bat wing design affects habitat use and bat diet; how the size of a predator affects its ability to capture and eat certain prey; and how certain mosquitoes have evolved physiologically and morphologically to tolerate salt-water habitats. Ecological Morphology also covers the history of the field, the role of the comparative method in studying adaptation, and the use of data from modern organisms for understanding the ecology of fossil communities.
This book provides an overview of the achievements and potential of ecological morphology for all biologists and students interested in the way animal design, ecology, and evolution interact.