The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal-Built Structures

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Harvard University Press, Jun 1, 2009 - Science - 256 pages
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Can the structures that animals build--from the humble burrows of earthworms to towering termite mounds to the Great Barrier Reef--be said to live? However counterintuitive the idea might first seem, physiological ecologist Scott Turner demonstrates in this book that many animals construct and use structures to harness and control the flow of energy from their environment to their own advantage. Building on Richard Dawkins's classic, "The Extended Phenotype," Turner shows why drawing the boundary of an organism's physiology at the skin of the animal is arbitrary. Since the structures animals build undoubtedly do physiological work, capturing and channeling chemical and physical energy, Turner argues that such structures are more properly regarded not as frozen behaviors but as external organs of physiology and even extensions of the animal's phenotype. By challenging dearly held assumptions, a fascinating new view of the living world is opened to us, with implications for our understanding of physiology, the environment, and the remarkable structures animals build.

  

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User Review  - psiloiordinary - LibraryThing

Only just popular science because of the maths. A wonderful insight into such strange things as where an organism stops and its environment begins, scuba diving spiders, mud and worms, singing ... Read full review

Contents

1 The Organisms Fuzzy Boundary
1
2 Physiology Beyond the Organism
9
3 Living Architecture
26
4 Broth and Taxis
40
5 Then a Miracle Occurs
54
6 Mud Power
80
7 As the Worm Turns
99
8 Arachnes Aqualungs
120
10 Twist and Shout
159
11 The Soul of the Superorganism
179
12 Love Your Mother
201
Epilogue
213
Readings
217
Credits
229
Index
231
Copyright

9 Manipulative Midges and Mites
142

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About the author (2009)

J. Scott Turner is Associate Professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.

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