Plant phenotypic plasticity- the Sede-Boker workshop

  Roundtable discussions -

          Suggested topics and exemplifying questions

1. Information processing and decision making by plants
    (coordinator: Carlos Ballare')

   What are the sources of information utilized by plants when sampling their immediate environment? (e.g. light quality, root exudates, resource gradients)

   What is the relative importance of environmental cues and actual resource availability for the determination of developmental moves in plants? (e.g. under what circumstances will spectral signals be more important than photosynthetic light levels in determining plant development?)

   What determines the way plants integrate new environmental information while going through developmental changes? (e.g. how different and how persistent should be the change in the environment to cause a developmental response?)

   How are environmental signals and the age of the plant integrated, and how is this integration expressed?

2 . Within-plant phenotypic plasticity and exploitation of environmental
     heterogeneity (coordinator: Mike Hutchings)

  Based on what morphogenetical controls do plants allocate more resources into vigorous organs at the expense of other less fortunate organs on the same plant?

  Can scale, precision and rate of response provide a coherent basis for theories of resource foraging by plants?

  At what resolution do plants sense and respond to temporal and spatial environmental heterogeneity? (e.g. To what extent do plant growth habit or predictability of resource availability matter?)

3. Costs and limits of phenotypic plasticity: physiological, ecological and
    evolutionary aspects (coordinator: Tsvi Sachs)

  What limits phenotypic plasticity in plants under varied natural conditions?

  What are the characterizations of the interplay among phenotypic plasticity, stress tolerance and genetic polymorphism?

  What is the relative importance of the physiological, ecological and evolutionary costs of phenotypic plasticity?

4.  Implications of phenotypic plasticity for the organization of populations
     and communities (coordinator: Deborah Goldberg)

  How does phenotypic plasticity influence genetic diversity and demographic processes in natural populations subjected to environmental changes of various magnitudes?

  Can we predict the magnitude and precision of phenotypic responses from the ecology of a plant or its usual status within communities?

  What is the relative importance of phenotypic plasticity in determining the tolerance of populations and communities to environmental changes and stresses? (e.g. herbivory, climate change)

  What are the consequences of phenotypic plasticity for the determination of inter- and intra-specific interactions in natural communities?

5.  Classes and hierarchies of phenotypic plasticity
     (coordinator: Philip Grime)

  What are the various classes of phenotypic plasticity and the functional relationships among them? (e.g. polyphenism vs. reaction norms)

  What are the mechanisms allowing plants simultaneous adaptation to external changes and maintenance of internal homeostasis?

  Are there any principal differences between the characteristics of phenotypic plasticity in plants and animals? (e.g. to what extent modularity and continuous embryonic activity unique to plants?)

  Are there switches in plasticity that coincide with more obvious changes as plants mature (e.g. juvenile to mature leaf forms or onset of reproduction)?

Back to:
Information processing Pops and Comms
Environmental heterogeneity Classes and hierarchies
Costs and limits


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