As selection acts on individuals and not on traits, interpreting the adaptive value of a trait not may be straightforward. Bonser et al. alter nutrient availability in Arabidopsis thaliana and find that it induces shifts in the expression of leaf function and life histories; however, interpreting the adaptive value of these functional traits is sometimes only possible when these traits are considered as part of an integrated phenotype. Thus they find that leaf function makes an important but indirect contribution to adaptive strategies of A. thaliana genotypes on nutrient gradients.
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