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Algal Phenotypic Plasticity: its Importance in Developing New Concepts The Case for Scenedesmus
Eduardo A. Morales, Francis R. Trainor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut Storrs
The phycological literature contains several accounts for the occurrence of phenotypic plasticity, briefly defined as morphological variations induced by changing environmental conditions. However, the potential impact of plasticity on alga systematics has been underestimated. In the pas시 conventional classification schemes have not been sufficiently flexible to incorporate a rather extensive phenotypic plasticity, resulting in the application of different names to morphs (ecomorphs) of the same species. Research on the green algal genus Scenedesmus has demonstrated the impact of this morphological plasticity on taxonomy at the species level, suggesting possible pathways toward the development of a more natural classification system based on multidisciplinary information.
algae, phenotypic plasticity, Scenedesmus, taxonomy and systematics