Tactics of acclimation: Morphological changes of sponges in an unpredictable environment

  • Palumbi S
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Abstract

Reciprocal transplants of genetically identical fragments of intertidal sponges between environments ofhigh and low wave action exhibit great variability in the timing of their responses to environmental change. Sponges quickly begin production ofstiffer and stronger tissues in high wave energy environments but delay formation of new, weak tissues in calm habitats. This may be due to the risks of forming wave-intolerant tissue in a temporally variable, unpredictable environment. These results suggest that the evolution ofacclimatory control is linked to environ- mental predictability and concomitantly to risks ofacclimatory errors.

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