Phenotypic Plasticity

Overview

For more than two decades the concept of phenotypic plasticity has allowed researchers to go beyond the nature-nurture dichotomy to gain deeper insights into how organisms are shaped by the interaction of genetic and ecological factors. Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture is the first work to synthesize the burgeoning area of plasticity studies, providing a conceptual overview as well as a technical treatment of its major components.

Phenotypic plasticity integrates...

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Overview

For more than two decades the concept of phenotypic plasticity has allowed researchers to go beyond the nature-nurture dichotomy to gain deeper insights into how organisms are shaped by the interaction of genetic and ecological factors. Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture is the first work to synthesize the burgeoning area of plasticity studies, providing a conceptual overview as well as a technical treatment of its major components.

Phenotypic plasticity integrates the insights of ecological genetics, developmental biology, and evolutionary theory. Plasticity research asks foundational questions about how living organisms are capable of variation in their genetic makeup and in their responses to environmental factors. For instance, how do novel adaptive phenotypes originate? How do organisms detect and respond to stressful environments? What is the balance between genetic or natural constraints (such as gravity) and natural selection? The author begins by defining phenotypic plasticity and detailing its history, including important experiments and methods of statistical and graphical analysis. He then provides extended examples of the molecular basis of plasticity, the plasticity of development, the ecology of plastic responses, and the role of costs and constraints in the evolution of plasticity. A brief epilogue looks at how plasticity studies shed light on the nature/nurture debate in the popular media.

Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture thoroughly reviews more than two decades of research, and thus will be of interest to both students and professionals in evolutionary biology, ecology, and genetics.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Nature
Phenotypic Plasticity is the most comprehensive book on this topic. It provides both a solid basis for understanding the subject and an inspiring synthesis of the current state of the discipline, and so can be equally recommended for students starting their research, for experts in the field and for all scientists generally interested in phenotypic plasticity. Hardly anyone will read this book without gaining new insights or new inspirations. The book is a 'must read' in the fields of evolution and ecology, and as such is an ideal topic for seminars. I highly recommend it and look forward to the next volumes in Scheiner's series.

— Ralph Tollrian

Heredity
Every biologist interested in evolutionary biology should read this book... The book has one central purpose, to propose and defend the proposition that to understand phenotypic evolution we must take into account phenotypic plasticity, not simply as an interesting peripheral phenomenon but as an integral part of the evolutionary process... I think that the authors produce and extremely strong case which should encourage more research in this fast-developing area.

— Derek Roff

Folia Geobotanica
I appreciate the style of the book—theory, discussion, and plentiful examples from both zoology and botany are well balanced making the text understandable for a wide audience.
Ecoscience
Refreshing and enlightening... It is difficult to identify an ecologist or evolutionary biologist who would not be interested in this book.

— Jeffrey Hutchings

American Journal of Physical Anthropology
The authors write well on timely subjects, control a broad wealth of knowledge, and raise examples ranging from the molecular to the morphological, animal to plant. The introduction alone will put many things in modern biology into clearer perspective, while the detailed middle chapters provide specific examples... The authors are persuasive proponents of their viewpoint.

— Kenneth M. Weiss

Nature - Ralph Tollrian
Phenotypic Plasticity is the most comprehensive book on this topic. It provides both a solid basis for understanding the subject and an inspiring synthesis of the current state of the discipline, and so can be equally recommended for students starting their research, for experts in the field and for all scientists generally interested in phenotypic plasticity. Hardly anyone will read this book without gaining new insights or new inspirations. The book is a 'must read' in the fields of evolution and ecology, and as such is an ideal topic for seminars. I highly recommend it and look forward to the next volumes in Scheiner's series.
Heredity - G.J. Holloway
It is difficult to see how any student of phenotypic plasticity will be able to get by without a copy of this on their shelf... [it] appeals to students at all levels of development and sophistication... It is a fascinating read and will not fail to stimulate new insight into this most important topic.
Plants, Systematics and Evolution - Leonardo Galetto
This book... strongly shakes and stimulates our minds. After reading this book, I feel that I can understand a little more about the diversification and evolution of the fascinating living worlds surrounding us.
Ecoscience - Jeffrey Hutchings
Refreshing and enlightening... It is difficult to identify an ecologist or evolutionary biologist who would not be interested in this book.
Heredity - Derek Roff
Every biologist interested in evolutionary biology should read this book... The book has one central purpose, to propose and defend the proposition that to understand phenotypic evolution we must take into account phenotypic plasticity, not simply as an interesting peripheral phenomenon but as an integral part of the evolutionary process... I think that the authors produce and extremely strong case which should encourage more research in this fast-developing area.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology - Kenneth M. Weiss
The authors write well on timely subjects, control a broad wealth of knowledge, and raise examples ranging from the molecular to the morphological, animal to plant. The introduction alone will put many things in modern biology into clearer perspective, while the detailed middle chapters provide specific examples... The authors are persuasive proponents of their viewpoint.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801867880
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service
  • Publication date: 7/17/2001
  • Series: Syntheses in Ecology and Evolution Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Massimo Pigliucci is an associate professor in the Departments of Botany and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents:

Series Editor's Foreword, by Samuel M. Scheiner

Foreword, by Paul Brakefield

Preface



Chapter 1: What is Phenotypic Plasticity?

Chapter 2: Studying and Understanding Plasticity

Chapter 3: A Brief (Conceptual) History of Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 4: The Genetics of Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 5: The Molecular Biology of Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 6: The Developmental Biology of Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 7: The Ecology of Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 8: Behavior and Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 9: Evolution of and by Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 10: The Theoretical Biology of Phenotypic Plasticity

Chapter 11: Phenotypic Plasticity as a Central Concept in Evolutionary Biology



Epilogue: Beyond Nature and Nurture

Notes

References

Author Index

Subject Index

Johns Hopkins University Press

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