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

Publisher:
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Plankton Research, 2015, 37 (4), pp. 683 - 691
Issue Date:
2015-07-01
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© 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com. 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 s ystems 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.
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