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  • 1.
    Forsman, Anders
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Rethinking phenotypic plasticity and its consequences for individuals, populations and species.2015In: Heredity, ISSN 0018-067X, E-ISSN 1365-2540, Vol. 115, no 4, p. 276-284Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Much research has been devoted to identify the conditions under which selection favours flexible individuals or genotypes that are able to modify their growth, development and behaviour in response to environmental cues, to unravel the mechanisms of plasticity, and to explore its influence on patterns of diversity among individuals, populations, and species. The consequences of developmental plasticity and phenotypic flexibility for the performance and ecological success of populations and species have attracted a comparatively limited but currently growing interest. Here, I re-emphasize that an increased understanding of the roles of plasticity in these contexts requires a ‘whole organism’ (rather than ‘single trait’) approach, taking into consideration that organisms are integrated complex phenotypes. I further argue that plasticity and genetic polymorphism should be analysed and discussed within a common framework. I summarize predictions from theory on how phenotypic variation stemming from developmental plasticity and phenotypic flexibility may affect different aspects of population-level performance. I argue that it is important to distinguish between effects associated with greater inter-individual phenotypic variation resulting from plasticity, and effects mediated by variation among individuals in the capacity to express plasticity and flexibility as such. Finally, I claim that rigorous testing of predictions requires methods that allow for quantifying and comparing whole organism plasticity, as well as the ability to experimentally manipulate the level of and capacity for developmental plasticity and phenotypic flexibility independent of genetic variation.

  • 2.
    Larsson, Kjell
    Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Genetic and environmental effects on the timing of wing moult in the barnacle goose1996In: Heredity, ISSN 0018-067X, E-ISSN 1365-2540, Vol. 76, p. 100-107Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Genetic and environmental effects on the timing of wing moult were analysed in a breeding barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) population recently established in the Baltic area. Start of wing moult of adults was found to be correlated with number of fledged young produced and start of wing moult of their breeding partners. Date of birth and age were not significantly correlated with start of wing moult although the length of the interval between hatching date of broods and start of wing moult was correlated with age. Repeatability estimates were significantly different from zero showing individual consistency of start of wing moult between years. Offspring-parent regressions and full-sib analyses yielded significant heritability estimates for start of wing moult. No indications of maternal effects were found. An especially high degree of resemblance between one-year-old full-sibs indicated the presence of a common environment effect on start of wing moult.

  • 3.
    Larsson, Kjell
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Rattiste, Kalev
    Uppsala University, Sweden ; Estonian Institute of Zoology and Botany, Estonia.
    Lilleleht, Vilju
    Estonian Institute of Zoology and Botany, Estonia.
    Heritability of head size in the common gull Larus canus in relation to environmental conditions during offspring growth1997In: Heredity, ISSN 0018-067X, E-ISSN 1365-2540, Vol. 79, no 2, p. 201-207Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We studied the heritability of head length in a common gull (Larus canus) population breeding in western Estonia. Heritability estimates obtained from offspring-parent regressions were moderate to high and significantly different from zero. Head size might hence respond evolutionarily to phenotypic selection. Offspring-mother and offspring-father regressions yielded similar heritability estimates. This indicated that size-related maternal or paternal effects were absent or weak. Heritability and additive genetic variance estimates obtained from offspring-parent regressions and full-sib analyses were higher when offspring had grown up under good environmental conditions than under poor environmental conditions. Such a pattern has previously been found in some other studies of birds. This suggests that genotype-environment interactions might be frequent within the range of conditions experienced by natural bird populations.

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