Behaviour 2019
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Evolution and Behavioral Plasticity: An Introduction to the Symposium Honoring Susan A. Foster
Matthew A Wund. The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, United States

Organisms often exhibit phenotypic plasticity, expressing distinct morphology, physiology, life history, or behavior, depending upon the environmental conditions they encounter. Historically, phenotypic plasticity and genetic evolution were viewed as independent means by which organisms adapt to their environments. However, since the latter part of the 20th century, evolutionary biologists have come to better understand how natural selection shapes plastic responses, and, more controversially, how that phenotypic plasticity can reciprocally influence evolutionary outcomes. Animal behavior, by its very nature, reflects organismal responses to environmental variation. As such, animal behaviorists have much to offer this growing understanding of how plasticity and evolution interact. This introduction to the symposium will highlight some key ideas in this growing field of inquiry, setting the stage for the exciting talks that are to follow. Moreover, it will highlight the outstanding contributions of ABS Fellow and Past President Susan Foster (1953 – 2021), who devoted her career to studying the evolution of animal behavior and behavioral plasticity.