1st Edition

A Central Concept in Biology

Editors: Benedikt Hallgrímsson Brian Hall
Hardcover ISBN: 9780120887774
eBook ISBN: 9780080454467
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 24th June 2005
Page Count: 592
Tax/VAT will be calculated at check-out
Compatible Not compatible
VitalSource PC, Mac, iPhone & iPad Amazon Kindle eReader
ePub & PDF Apple & PC desktop. Mobile devices (Apple & Android) Amazon Kindle eReader
Mobi Amazon Kindle eReader Anything else

Institutional Access


Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was based on the observation that there is variation between individuals within the same species. This fundamental observation is a central concept in evolutionary biology. However, variation is only rarely treated directly. It has remained peripheral to the study of mechanisms of evolutionary change. The explosion of knowledge in genetics, developmental biology, and the ongoing synthesis of evolutionary and developmental biology has made it possible for us to study the factors that limit, enhance, or structure variation at the level of an animals' physical appearance and behavior. Knowledge of the significance of variability is crucial to this emerging synthesis. This volume situates the role of variability within this broad framework, bringing variation back to the center of the evolutionary stage.

Key Features

·Provides an overview of current thinking on variation in evolutionary biology, functional morphology, and evolutionary developmental biology ·Written by a team of leading scholars specializing on the study of variation ·Reviews of statistical analysis of variation by leading authorities ·Key chapters focus on the role of the study of phenotypic variation for evolutionary, developmental, and post-genomic biology


Intended for scholars, advanced undergraduate students, and graduates in evolutionary biology, biological anthropology, paleontology, morphology, developmental biology, genomics and other related disciplines.

Table of Contents

Foreword - Ernst Mayr

CHAPTER 1. Variation and Viability: Central Concepts in Biology- Benedikt Hallgrímsson & Brian K. Hall

CHAPTER 2. Variation from Darwin to the Modern Synthesis, by Peter J. Bowler Introduction I. Variation before Darwin II. Darwin and Variation III. Alternative Theories of Variation and Evolution IV. Neo-Darwinism V. The Evolutionary Synthesis VI. Conclusions

CHAPTER 3. The Statistics of Variation, by Leigh Van Valen Abstract Introduction I. Absolute Variation: Univariate Case II. Absolute Variation: Multivariate Case III. Relative Variation: Univariate Case IV. Relative Variation: Multivariate Case V. Dimensionality of Variation VI. Tightness VII. Measurement Error and Single Specimens

CHAPTER 4. Landmark Morphometrics and the Analysis of Variation, by Joan T. Richtsmeier, Subhash R. Lele and Theodore M. Cole, III Introduction I. Coordinate Data and the Coordinate System II. The General Perturbation Model for Landmark Variation III. Proper Elimination of Nuisance Parameters using a Coordinate System Invariant Method of Estimation IV. Adding Assumptions to the Perturbation Model V. Conclusions

CHAPTER 5. Variation in Ontogeny, by D.C. Jones and R.Z. German Introduction I. Measuring Variation A. Data B. Levels of Variation in Data on Growth and Protein Malnutrition C. Measuring within Individual Variation D. Among Individual Variation
E. Variation Between Treatment Groups II. Results A. Factor Differences for W


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2005
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Editor

Benedikt Hallgrímsson

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Brian Hall

Affiliations and Expertise

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


"...Variation: A Central Concept in Biology, is sure to spark the interest of nearly all ecologists and evolutionary biologists...How does this variation arise? How do new variants evolve? What contrains variation? The answers are incomplete. However, the chapters of this book provide a glimpse at our current understanding of phenotypic variation." - James A. Fordyce, University of Tenessee, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, in ECOLOGY "Variation is certainly a topic of central interest in evolutionary biology and this new book offers an unusually inclusive array of perspectives on the topic. I especially enjoyed the breadth of coverage. Novel features are found that one might not have expected in a book of this nature, such as structural, functional and developmental variation, as contrasted with the expected emphases on genetic variation, canalization and phenotypic plasticity, and their relation to life history evolution. Palmer’s stimulating chapter on antisymmetry is particularly noteworthy for its originality. Another unusual treatment is Badyaev’s focus on the role of stress in evolution, which is examined from a different perspective by Hoffmann and McKenzie. On the whole this is an assemblage of excellent chapters by many of the central figures in the fields covered and will be a welcome addition to my library." - David B. Wake, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. "This comprehensive, diverse and stimulating volume is a must-read for anyone interested in development and evolution. Never has the critical subject of variation been so well treated in terms of how to analyze variation, how developmental processes induce and constrain its properties, and the complex relationships between genotypic, environmental and phenotypic variation. This is a tour-de-force treatment of a critical subject." - Daniel E. Lieberman, Harvard University, U.S.A.