This chapter details the nature of plasticity and how it can be studied, focusing in particular on the “reaction norm” approach. The subsequent key questions first evaluate whether or not plasticity is typically adaptive, with the main alternative being maladaptive physiological responses to stress. The next question informs the costs and limits to plasticity, without which any environment-phenotype mismatch could be easily bridged. The chapter considers when adaptive plasticity should be strongest, such as when environments are variable in space or time, when gene flow is high, and when reliable cues exist. Also considered are alternative hypotheses for how genetic change and plasticity interact: that is, plasticity might enhance or constrain genetic evolution and ecological speciation.
Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.