The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures

The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures

by J. Scott Turner
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The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures

Can the structures that animals build--from the humble burrows of earthworms to towering termite mounds to the Great Barrier Reef--be said to live? However counterintuitive the idea might first seem, physiological ecologist Scott Turner demonstrates in this book that many animals construct and use structures to harness and control the flow of energy from their environment to their own advantage. Building on Richard Dawkins's classic, The Extended Phenotype, Turner shows why drawing the boundary of an organism's physiology at the skin of the animal is arbitrary. Since the structures animals build undoubtedly do physiological work, capturing and channeling chemical and physical energy, Turner argues that such structures are more properly regarded not as frozen behaviors but as external organs of physiology and even extensions of the animal's phenotype. By challenging dearly held assumptions, a fascinating new view of the living world is opened to us, with implications for our understanding of physiology, the environment, and the remarkable structures animals build.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674009851
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/30/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 7.75(w) x 8.93(h) x (d)

About the Author

J. Scott Turner is Associate Professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.

Table of Contents


1. The Organism's Fuzzy Boundary

2. Physiology Beyond the Organism

3. Living Architecture

4. Broth and Taxis

5. Then a Miracle Occurs

6. Mud Power

7. As the Worm Turns

8. Arachne's Aqualungs

9. Manipulative Midges and Mites

10. Twist and Shout!

11. The Soul of the Superorganism

12. Love Your Mother





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Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
Turner's book is excellently written with well developed and supported arguments and examples. He actually makes physics fun and pertinent to a biologist and brings ecology and physiology together in important ways. This book is a joy to read. I highly recommend the book for students of animal biology, evolution, and ecology but also for those of us who teach this material.