Chapter

Organismal Mechanisms of Subindividual Variability: <i>Ontogenetic contingency, the interplay between inherent architecture and environmental milieu, and developmental stochasticity are mechanisms responsible for within-plant variability of reiterated structures</i>.

Carlos M. Herrera

in Multiplicity in Unity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226327938
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226327952 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226327952.003.0006
Organismal Mechanisms of Subindividual Variability: Ontogenetic contingency, the interplay between inherent architecture and environmental milieu, and developmental stochasticity are mechanisms responsible for within-plant variability of reiterated structures.

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This chapter describes the organization of the response of the organism to its changing environment as well as the organization that it generates in and of itself. The author finds that the subindividual variation in reiterated organ traits is widespread, extensive, and spatially organized; affects almost every conceivable trait; and is the visible outcome of a complex underlying web of remote causal agents and proximate mechanisms. This description of the mechanism of subindividual variability has laid the biological foundations for the analysis of the ecological and evolutionary implications of subindividual variation. For a given organ trait, plant species differ widely in levels of within-plant variability and in the relative contributions to this variability of differences among and within branches or stems. The comparative analyses testing hypotheses ascertain the importance of sectoriality as a cause of within-plant variation and examine whether its importance remains consistent across species or environments.

Keywords: subindividual variation; organ traits; causal agents; proximate mechanism; within-plant variation

Chapter.  20624 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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