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What is Phenotypic Plasticity and Why is it Douglas W. Whitman1
 

Summary: What is Phenotypic Plasticity and Why is it
Important?
Douglas W. Whitman1
and Anurag A. Agrawal2
1
Department of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA
61790-4120, E-mail: dwwhitm@ilstu.edu
2
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca,
New York, USA 14853, E-mail: agrawal@cornell.edu
Abstract
Phenotypic plasticity, the capacity of a single genotype to exhibit variable
phenotypes in different environments, is common in insects and is often
highly adaptive. Here we review terminology, conceptual issues, and insect
plasticity research, including variance partitioning, reaction norms,
physiological mechanisms, adaptive value, and evolution. All plasticity is
physiological, but can manifest as changes in biochemistry, physiology,
morphology, behavior, or life history. Phenotypic plasticity can be passive,
anticipatory, instantaneous, delayed, continuous, discrete, permanent,
reversible, beneficial, harmful, adaptive or non-adaptive, and generational.

  

Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology