Evolutionary and Ecological Implications of Plastic Responses of Algae

Eduardo A. Morales, Francis R. Trainor, and Carl D. Schlichting

Figure 1

A. Generalized plasticity response to environmental change. The environment is sensed by an organism exhibiting phenotype 1. The genes of this organism respond by a physiological change producing phenotype 2. This response to environmental influences can occur in a single individual or from one generation to the next.
B. Schematic representation of the plastic response in Scenedesmus. The environment affects phenotypes 1, 2, and 3 causing the production of the next phenotype in the cycle. Often a mixture of phenotypes would be found in nature for there is genetic variation for plasticity within a single population and because environmental circumstances are not uniform throughout the range of distribution of the population (even within the same locality).

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