Nature provides the parameters, or boundaries, within which organisms must cope in order to survive. Therefore, ecological conditions have an unequivocal influence on the ability of organisms to perform the necessary functions for survival. Biomechanics brings together physics and biology to understand how an organism will function under a suite of conditions. Despite a relatively rich recent history linking physiology and morphology with ecology, less attention has been paid to the linkage between biomechanics and ecology. This linkage, however, could provide key insights into patterns and processes of evolution. Ecomechanics, also known as ecological biomechanics or mechanical ecology, is not necessarily new, but has received far less attention than ecophysiology or ecomorphology. Here, we briefly review the history of ecomechanics, and then identify what we believe are grand challenges for the discipline and how they can inform some of the most pressing questions in science today, such as how organisms will cope with global change.
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