Chapter

Evolutionary Implications of Within-Plant Variability in Organ Traits: <i>Subindividual multiplicity of organs can affect the evolutionary trajectory of organ traits by setting upper limits on responses to selection, opening the possibility of selection by animals on plant-level variability, and conditioning the size of realized phenotypic space at the individual and population levels</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/9780226327952.003.0010
Evolutionary Implications of Within-Plant Variability in Organ Traits: Subindividual multiplicity of organs can affect the evolutionary trajectory of organ traits by setting upper limits on responses to selection, opening the possibility of selection by animals on plant-level variability, and conditioning the size of realized phenotypic space at the individual and population levels.

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This chapter focuses on evolutionary implications that can be inferred from the existence of within-plant variation in organ traits and the associated ecological phenomena mediated by interactions with animals. The adaptive levels of environmental phenotypic variance in organ traits can be maintained by selection, regardless of the mechanisms producing it. Subindividual variability often accounts for nontrivial proportions of total environmental phenotypic variance of organ traits; selection by animals on variability has the potential to modify the magnitude of environmental variance and, in so doing, shift the balance between the genetic and environmental components. It is suggested that the environmental and genetic factors may be envisaged as “competing” to produce a given level of phenotypic variance. Thus, the spatial and temporal dynamics of such competition has manifold evolutionary implications, and animals can play a driving role by shifting the balance toward one side or the other.

Keywords: evolutionary implications; within-plant variation; organ traits; ecological phenomena; phenotypic variance; subindividual variability

Chapter.  10188 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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