Emerging model systems in eco-evo-devo: the environmentally responsive spadefoot toad


*Author for correspondence (email: cledonrettig@mail.usf.edu)


SUMMARY Spadefoot toads have emerged as a model system for addressing fundamental questions in ecological and evolutionary developmental biology (eco-evo-devo). Their tadpoles produce a wide range of adaptive phenotypes in direct response to diverse environmental stimuli. Such phenotypic plasticity offers an excellent opportunity to examine how an organism's ecology affects its development as well as how an organism's development influences its ecology and evolution. By characterizing and understanding the interconnectedness between an organism's environment, its development responses, and its ecological interactions in natural populations, such research promises to clarify further the role of the environment in not only selecting among diverse phenotypes, but also creating such phenotypes in the first place.