The startling diversity of life has long been the primary inspiration for basic and applied research in many fields. Understanding the morphology, development, behavior, and physiology of organisms is a central core of ecology and evolution programs. The combination of taxon-specific biological science with recent advances in experimental methods, genomics and molecular biology, and comparative phylogenetic methods has yielded a new field: integrative organismal systems.
EEMB scientists working in the field of integrative organismal systems discover and characterize the diversity of morphology and behavior across the domains of life, and use quantitative analysis to explain the evolution and function of these discoveries. The tremendous diversity of form and function in nature necessitate both an in depth focus on model systems and a comparative phylogenetic approach encompassing broad groups of taxa. The goal of research in the broad area of organismal biology is to explain the structure and function of organisms in terms of their evolutionary history and ecological context. This includes the use of comparative phylogenetic approaches to the study of development, physiology, and functional form. Integrative organismal systems is a highly integrative field, linking organismal and evolutionary biology to ecological science.