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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 355, Issue 1–3, pp 153–158 | Cite as

Adaptation capabilities of marine modular organisms

  • N. N. Marfenin
Article

Abstract

Marine modular organisms such as hydroids and coralsare plastic in their responses to continuouslychanging environments. Morphogenetic limitations areless important for modular animals and plants, thanfor unitary ones. Although each module variesrelatively little, modular organisms are characterizedby an extremely broad plasticity of shape. Sessilecolonial animals grow into a heterogenous environmentand so each modular organism has its own often uniqueshape. The mechanism of modular body plasticity andadaptation to the environment is based on cyclicalmorphogenesis through replication of modules.Plasticity of shape is achieved not only by colonialgrowth, but during unfavorable periods also by bodyreduction due to module reabsorbtion.

ecology modular organisms coloniality growth strategy 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. N. Marfenin
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. Invertebrate Zoology, Biological FacultyMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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