Books  Ecology  Ecological Theory and Practice 

Organism & Environment: Ecological Development, Niche Construction, and Adaptation

  • An authoritative graduate textbook of ecological development ('eco-devo') set in the context of diverse natural systems
  • Explores how niche construction contributes to ecological interactions and evolutionary dynamics
  • Includes detailed case studies showing how regulatory mechanisms lead to plastic eco-devo responses
  • Ideal graduate seminar course material

By: Sonia E Sultan(Author)

220 pages, 8 plates with 19 colour & b/w photos and colour illustrations; b/w photos, b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Sep 2015 | #223280 | ISBN-13: 9780199587063
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £34.99 $45/€38 approx
Hardback | Sep 2015 | #223281 | ISBN-13: 9780199587070
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £69.99 $90/€76 approx

About this book

Over the past decade, advances in both molecular developmental biology and evolutionary ecology have made possible a new understanding of organisms as dynamic systems interacting with their environments. This innovative book synthesizes a wealth of recent research findings to examine how environments influence phenotypic expression in individual organisms (ecological development or 'eco-devo'), and how organisms in turn alter their environments (niche construction). A key argument explored throughout Organism & Environment is that ecological interactions as well as natural selection are shaped by these dual organism-environment effects. This synthesis is particularly timely as biologists seek a unified contemporary framework in which to investigate the developmental outcomes, ecological success, and evolutionary prospects of organisms in rapidly changing environments.

Organism & Environment is an advanced text suitable for graduate level students taking seminar courses in ecology, evolution, and developmental biology, as well as academics and researchers in these fields.


1: The Environmental Context of Development
2: The Organism-Environment Relationship: Ecological niches, adaptation, eco-devo and niche construction
3: Mechanisms of Plasticity: Eco-Devo pathways as environmental cue and response systems
4: Ecological Development as Niche Construction: How plasticity shapes the environment an organism experiences
5: Habitat Construction and Functional Feedbacks: How organisms modify their external conditions
6: Community-level Consequences of Habitat Construction and Eco-devo Responses
7: Natural Selection in the Light of the Organism-Environment Relationship
8: Epilogue: Research directions and real-world challenges

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Sonia E. Sultan is Professor of Biology and Professor of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, where her research group studies plant ecological development. She has long been a major contributor to the empirical and conceptual literatures on individual plasticity and its relation to ecological breadth and adaptive evolution. Sultan studied History and Philosophy of Science at Princeton University, followed by graduate work in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California (Davis) Center for Population Biology, and a Fellow of the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin).

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