Zoology and Functional Morphology of Vertebrates, Böhmer Group


The focus of our research lies on the evolution of vertebrates. Fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals have evolved over millions of years to survive under challenging conditions. This lead to a tremendous number of different species (biodiversity), but also resulted in a wide morphological variety (biodisparity). Physically different habitats, such as the transition from a life in water to a life on land, imposed manifold pressures on the organisms. These dramatic differences of the respective environment require adaptations in the structure and function of the organismal body.

Using classic as well as cutting-edge techniques, we address the following scientific questions:

1. What is the structural organisation of the organismal body?

We investigate the morpholgy of the bones and the anatomy of the musculature and how both are linked with each other.

2. How does the musculoskeletal system work?

We compare the structure and study the relation between form and function.

3. How has the structure developed?

We analyze the embryological mechanisms that underlie the evolution of the structure.


Struktur, Funktion und Entwicklung

During the course of their evolution, organisms developed diverse structural solutions. These "inventions" of nature are highly interesting for scientists, physicians and engineers because they may provide models for innovative solutions in architecture, industry and medicine. Even the human body is the result of a million year long evolution. The key to understanding its structure and function, is the evolutionary history of vertebrates.

Further reading: Selected publications