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Integr Comp Biol. 2013 Dec;53(6):960-4. doi: 10.1093/icb/ict089. Epub 2013 Aug 11.

Coping with uncertainty: integrating physiology, behavior, and evolutionary ecology in a changing world.

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  • 1*Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA Queen's University, Biology Department, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada, Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada.


The world is rapidly changing, and is exhibiting increased variability in environmental conditions. One of the grand challenges of current biology is to understand how, and predict which species will be able to cope with uncertain environments. The goal of this symposium was to explore how integrating physiological mechanisms with behavior and evolutionary ecology can help us understand how organisms cope with uncertainty. Here, we briefly review core principles that emerged in the symposium and topics covered by the presenters. Ecological studies can benefit from considering physiological mechanisms as these mechanisms may indicate constraints and trade-offs. In addition, considering the entire phenotype in an integrated way (the phenome) may reveal how different traits may trade-off or affect each other. Finally, considering the range of phenotypic plasticity is critical in exploring how organisms may cope with uncertainty via plasticity and/or adaptive evolution.

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