Phenotypic plasticity – the ability of an individual organism to alter its features in direct response to a change in its environment – is ubiquitous. Understanding how and why this phenomenon exists is crucial because it unites all levels of biological inquiry. This book brings together researchers who approach plasticity from diverse perspectives to explore new ideas and recent findings about the causes and consequences of plasticity. Contributors also discuss such controversial topics as how plasticity shapes ecological and evolutionary processes; whether specific plastic responses can be passed to offspring; and whether plasticity has left an important imprint on the history of life. Importantly, each chapter highlights key questions for future research. Drawing on numerous studies of plasticity in natural populations of plants and animals, this book aims to foster greater appreciation for this important, but frequently misunderstood phenomenon.

Key Features

  • Written in an accessible style with numerous illustrations, including many in color
  • Reviews the history of the study of plasticity, including Darwin’s views
  • Most chapters conclude with recommendations for future research

part Section I|88 pages

Plasticity and Evolution

chapter 1|22 pages

Phenotypic Plasticity as an Intrinsic Property of Organisms

BySonia E. Sultan
Size: 0.56 MB
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chapter 3|34 pages

Key Questions about Phenotypic Plasticity

ByDavid W. Pfennig
Size: 4.48 MB

part Section II|93 pages

Causes of Plasticity

chapter 4|21 pages

Genetic Variation in Phenotypic Plasticity

ByIlan Goldstein, Ian M. Ehrenreich
Size: 0.50 MB

chapter 5|25 pages

Physiological Mechanisms and the Evolution of Plasticity

ByCristina C. Ledón-Rettig, Erik J. Ragsdale
Size: 1.12 MB

chapter 6|22 pages

Ecology and Evolution of Plasticity

ByEmilie C. Snell-Rood, Sean M. Ehlman
Size: 0.45 MB

chapter 7|21 pages

The Loss of Phenotypic Plasticity Via Natural Selection: Genetic Assimilation

BySamuel M. Scheiner, Nicholas A. Levis
Size: 1.38 MB

part Section III|115 pages

Consequences of Plasticity

chapter 8|25 pages

Buying Time: Plasticity and Population Persistence

BySarah E. Diamond, Ryan A. Martin
Size: 2.13 MB

chapter 9|30 pages

Innovation and Diversification Via Plasticity-Led Evolution

ByNicholas A. Levis, David W. Pfennig
Size: 1.05 MB

chapter 10|26 pages

Phenotypic Plasticity and Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality

ByDinah R. Davison, Richard E. Michod
Size: 2.33 MB

chapter 11|31 pages

Phenotypic Plasticity in the Fossil Record

ByAdrian M. Lister
Size: 4.23 MB

part Section IV|96 pages

Plasticity and Evolution

chapter 12|25 pages

The Special Case of Behavioral Plasticity?

ByKathryn C. Chenard, Renée A. Duckworth
Size: 1.10 MB

chapter 13|22 pages

Plasticity across Generations

ByRussell Bonduriansky
Size: 0.99 MB

chapter 14|18 pages

How Does Phenotypic Plasticity Fit into Evolutionary Theory?

ByDouglas J. Futuyma
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chapter 15|28 pages

Plasticity and Evolutionary Theory: Where We Are and Where We Should Be Going

ByCarl D. Schlichting
Size: 1.18 MB