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The capacity to move is one of the most fundamental aspects in animal biology, and it influences biodiversity, fitness, and behaviour. Many animals have an astounding capacity to function well in a broad range of environments, while others are vulnerable to relatively small changes. These differences are intriguing considering that the principal molecular and physiological components are similar in most animals. Locomotor performance is of particular interest, because it is at the interface between physiology and behaviour. Any environmental parameter that limits locomotor performance and its underlying physiology will therefore also constrain behaviour. I will present recent work aimed at understanding the regulation and plasticity of locomotor performance in response to interactions between environmental factors, and their downstream effects on behaviour.
Frank Seebacher is a Professor in Biology at the University of Sydney in Australia. His research focusses on understanding plasticity of animal function in variable environments. He has worked on a broad range of organisms to determine how developmental plasticity and reversible acclimation modulate physiological processes underlying whole animal performance and behaviour in response to environmental change. Locomotor performance is of particular interest, because it is at the interface between physiology and behaviour. One of Frank's current research directions focuses on how epigenetic mechanisms affect locomotor performance and thereby behaviour of individuals and social groups.