Rethinking phenotypic plasticity and its consequences for individuals, populations and species

  title={Rethinking phenotypic plasticity and its consequences for individuals, populations and species},
  author={Anders Forsman},
  pages={276 - 284}
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… 
Phenotypic plasticity as a cause and consequence of population dynamics.
A novel general mathematical framework linking trait variation due to phenotypic plasticity to population dynamics is derived and applied to the classical example of Nicholson's blowflies to show how seemingly sensible predictions made from environment-trait relationships do not generalise to population responses.
Expanding the phenotypic plasticity paradigm to broader views of trait space and ecological function.
This article addresses two areas where plasticity theory can become further integrated with ecological, evolutionary, and developmental thinking: the idea that not only trait means within environments and plasticity of trait means across environments is optimized by selection, but that the entire shape of phenotype distributions should be optimized within and across environments.
Genetic Regulation of Phenotypic Plasticity and Canalisation in Yeast Growth
This work used a previously published dataset of a biparental yeast population grown in 34 diverse environments and mapped genetic loci regulating variation in phenotypic plasticity, plasticity QTL, and compared them with environment-specific QTL to comprehensively understand the genotype-phenotype map.
On the role of sex differences for evolution in heterogeneous and changing fitness landscapes: insights from pygmy grasshoppers
  • A. Forsman
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2018
These issues are illustrated using empirical examples from over 20 years of research on colour polymorphic Tetrix subulata and Tetrix undulata pygmy grasshoppers, and summarize findings from observational field studies, manipulation experiments, common garden breeding experiments and population genetics studies.
Adaptive Alignment of Plasticity With Genetic Variation and Selection.
The theoretical foundations of the overarching prediction of alignment, what alignment mathematically means, how researchers might test for alignment and important caveats to this testing are discussed.
Genomics of Developmental Plasticity in Animals
This work identifies recent advances and important open questions about the genomics of developmental plasticity in animals and gives special attention to studies using transcriptomics to identify genes whose expression changes across developmental environments and studies using genetic mapping to identify loci that contribute to variation in plasticity and can fuel its evolution.
Epigenetic Potential as a Mechanism of Phenotypic Plasticity in Vertebrate Range Expansions.
It is hypothesized that novel environments release and/or select for epigenetic potential in HPA variation and hence organismal performance and ultimately fitness.
Phenotypic plasticity of ecotypes across habitats
Results of this study may shed light into these two important evolutionary mechanisms in plant ecology which have implications for biodiversity conservation, environmental management, agricultural industry, and ecosystem services.
Pleiotropy allows recovery of phenotypic plasticity in constant environments
This work evolves a mutant strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that has reduced plasticity in a constant and fluctuating environment and compares the adaptive response of the evolved cell, both at the phenotype and genotype level and finds that evolution in a fluctuations environment results in a recovery of phenotypic plasticity.
Plasticity as panacea? Nerves, hormones, and the currencies of trade-offs
Hormonal and neural mechanisms that may influence how plastic behavioral traits are expressed and evolve are discussed and a classification of life history trade-offs and their mechanistic bases is outlined.


What is phenotypic plasticity and why is it important
Phenotypic plasticity is important because it is an encompassing model to understand life on earth, it can increase fitness, generate novelity, and facilitate evolution, it structures ecological communities, and it has numerous practical applications.
The role of phenotypic plasticity in driving genetic evolution
The role of phenotypic plasticity in stimulating evolution is assessed by considering two examples from birds: (i) the evolution of red and yellow plumage coloration due to carotenoid consumption; and (ii) the Evolution of foraging behaviours on islands.
The evolutionary ecology of individual phenotypic plasticity in wild populations
An analytical framework is outlined, utilizing the reaction norm concept and random regression statistical models, to assess the between‐individual variation in life history plasticity that may underlie population level responses to the environment at both phenotypic and genetic levels.
Phenotypic plasticity in evolutionary rescue experiments
This work briefly reviews the literature on the experimental evolution of plasticity, and on evolutionary rescue in the laboratory, paying particular attention to differences and similarities between microbes and multicellular eukaryotes, and highlights a set of questions that could be addressed using this framework.
An overview of the evolutionary causes and consequences of behavioural plasticity
Phenotypic plasticity of labile traits in the wild
The main statistical approach for how repeated records of individuals and a description of the environment allow quantification of variation in plasticity across individuals (IxE) and genotypes in wild populations is described.
Assessing the impacts of phenotypic plasticity on evolution.
  • M. Wund
  • Biology
    Integrative and comparative biology
  • 2012
The goal is to provide practical guidance to those seeking to understand the complex ways by which phenotypic plasticity can influence evolutionary innovation and diversification.
Phenotypic plasticity and population viability: the importance of environmental predictability
A stochastic individual-based model is developed, in which phenotypes could respond to a temporally fluctuating environmental cue and fitness depended on the match between the phenotype and a randomly fluctuating trait optimum, to assess the absolute fitness and population dynamic consequences of plasticity under different levels of environmental stochasticallyity and cue reliability.
Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture
Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture by Massimo Pigliucci is a fascinating read and will not fail to stimulate new insight into this most important topic.
Evolutionary Significance of Phenotypic Plasticity in Plants