HORIZONS: Acclimation, adaptation, traits and trade-offs in plankton functional type models: Reconciling terminology for biology and modelling

Kevin J. Flynn (Lead / Corresponding author), Michael St John, John A. Raven, David O. F. Skibinski, J. Icarus Allen, Aditee Mitra, Eileen E. Hofmann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We propose definitions in terminology to enhance ongoing collaborations between biologists and modellers on plankton ecology. Organism "functional type" should refer to commonality in ecology not biogeochemistry; the latter is largely an emergent property of the former, while alignment with ecology is also consistent with usage in terrestrial science. Adaptation should be confined, as in genetics, to consideration of species inter-generational change; most so-called "adaptive" plankton models are thus acclimative, modifying vital rates in response to stimuli. Trait trade-off approaches should ideally only be considered for describing intra-generational interactions; in applications between generations, and certainly between unrelated species, such concepts should be avoided. We suggest that systems biology approaches, through to complex adaptive/acclimative systems modelling, with explicit modelling of feedback processes (which we suggest should define "mechanistic" models), would provide realistic and flexible bases upon which to develop descriptions of functional type models.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)683-691
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Plankton Research
    Volume37
    Issue number4
    Early online date19 May 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

    Keywords

    • Acclimation
    • Adaptation
    • Complex adaptive systems
    • Functional trait
    • Functional type
    • Model
    • Resource allocation model
    • Systems biology
    • Trait trade-off

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