Geometric Morphometrics Laboratory for Systematics and Evolutionary Research

1-5 February 2010

Dipartimento Scienze Tecnologie, dell' Ambiente e del Territorio of the University of Molise, Pesche, Insernia, Italy.

The workshop was organised by Anna Loy, Tassos Kotsakis and Paolo Piras with the newborn Centre for Evolutionary Ecology (, lectured by Dennis Slice (Florida State University), Dean Adams (Iowa State University), Andrea Cardini (Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia), Paolo Piras (Centre for Evolutionary Ecology), Pasquale Raia (Centre for Evolutionary Ecology) and Luciano Teresi (Università Roma Tre) and attended by about 30 participants from 13 countries.

The objective of the workshop was to explore advanced data analyses relevant for systematics and evolutionary research using geometric morphometrics' data. Lecture themes included ordination and classification methods, allometry and asymmetry (Dennis Slice); treatment of semilandmark data, phylogenetic and comparative methods, evolutionary phenotypic trajectories and quantification of rates of phenotypic evolution (Dean Adams); analysis of spatial data (Andrea Cardini); linking ontogeny and phylogeny (Pasquale Raia); linking shape to function and phylogeny with examples from paleobiological studies (Paolo Piras); and finite element modeling for biological studies (Luciano Teresi). Software demonstration included several sessions on data analyses using R, as well as the tps-software series, Morpheus et al., 3D-ID and MorphoJ. The workshop closed with a series of presentations by some of the participants (see list below for titles).

The main focus of the workshop was on how methods developed for other kinds of biological data can be extended for use with GM data and applied to answer biological questions on shape variation and evolution. Discussion also examined technological advances that enhance the quantification of more complex shape traits, such as points on curves, curves on surfaces and 3D surfaces, and others that facilitate statistical analyses of the obtained data by decreasing computation time and making accessible procedures that were before too intense to be applied. In difference of previous workshops which served as a more basic introduction to GM tools, this laboratory went further and concentrated not only on the tools available, but mainly on the biological questions that can be asked and the way of assessing biological hypotheses using GM data. Due to the multivariate nature of GM shape data, some statistical methods need to be adequately modified and the participants had the opportunity to update their knowledge on developments in that direction. In some cases such extensions are not yet available, so new doors are to be opened and directions to be explored in the (hopefully near) future.

The Proceedings of the workshop will be published in the Italian Journal of Mammalogy – Hystrix.

Participants' reports

Michael Collyer – A non-parametric permutational MANOVA procedure for geometric morphometric data

Hans Wellens – Procrustes analysis in craniofacial diagnosis and treatment planning.

Valentine Meyer – Morphofunctional and virtual reconstruction of the neandetalian pelvis of Regousdoua: interaction obstentia, locomotion, enchephalization

Vincenzo  Viscosi – Analysis of covariation pattern in leaf morphological variability of European white oaks (Quercus sp.)

Gabriele Sansalone and Paolo Colangelo – Geometric morphometrics of the humerus in the genus Talpa: extant and fossil records

Paola Nicolosi – Morphometric variation in the Mediterranean vs Atlantic stocks of common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Angela  Roggero – Shape variation on geographic space: the case of the afrotropical genus  Ixodina (Coleoptera: Sccarabeoidea: Ixodina)

Astrid Pizzo – Morphometric variation in an Orthophagus species complex

Carmelo Fruciano – Intraspecific morphological variation in three species of fishes.

Leonardo Dapporto –  Biogeography and biodiversity of Mediterranean butterflies

Antigoni Kaliontzopoulou - CIBIO/UP, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Vairão, PORTUGAL Dep. Biología Animal, Fac. Biología, Univ. Barcelona, Barcelona, SPAIN