Sassafra leaf morphology

Thu Dec 9 12:33:00 EST 1993

Sorry to bother the list with this, but the original
message did not have a return address.

    AH, the magic phrase "phenotypic plasticity".  As a start
I (humbly) suggest my article in the latest Ann. Rev. Ecol.
Syst. on same.  My reaction to your problem is that you are
dealing with a prediction problem.  The organism (in this case
the bud) needs to "decide" what its phenotype will be based on
data 1 year prior to phenotypic expression.  Given the low,
albeit still postive, correlation between those environments, the
best strategy might be to use better cues such as branch age
or bud position on the tree.  That is, if the average bud on a
5 year old branch has a 10% light level, then the optimal
evolutionary strategy is to have a morphology that is "best"
for that light level.  If there are costs associated with
trying to fine-tune, such a strategy is optimal.  See papers
by Gavrilets & me and by Van Tienderen (referenced in ARES
   I would suggest that you try an experiment.  Change the
light received by different buds and see if you can change the
leaf morphology.  That might tell you what the proximal cue is
which might suggest how evolution is proceeding.  Of course,
with this 1-year potential lag patience is a virtue :-).
   If you are interested I can send some reprints.  This sounds
like a facinating problem and I am always interested in plasticity

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