Multiplicity in UnityPlant Subindividual Variation and Interactions with Animals

Multiplicity in UnityPlant Subindividual Variation and Interactions with Animals

Carlos M. Herrera

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226327938

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


The main purpose of this book is to present the message that when one looks at subindividual variability, a feature that was either unnoticed or taken as a nuisance turns into an opportunity for framing new questions, identifying novel biological mechanisms linking sessile plants and mobile choosy animals, and deepening the understanding of the ecological and evolutionary factors involved in plant–animal interactions. The chapters focus on what features vary among reiterated organs of the same plant, what the magnitude of such variation is in the different types of organs, and how it is temporally and spatially organized. A thesis is being developed that the multiplicity of homologous structures arising from plant modularity gives rise to a subindividual level of phenotypic differences among organs of the same plant involving a constellation of phenotypic traits, differences whose quantitative importance is often similar or even greater than that of phenotypic differences among individual means. The book attempts to highlight the existence of phenotypic variation at the subindividual scale that can have diverse ecological implications for the interaction between plants and the animals who use reiterated organs as food, including herbivores, flower visitors, frugivores, and seed predators.

Table of Contents

Front Matter