Growth in colonial organisms by iteration of modules inherently provides for an increase in available morpho-ecospace relative to their solitary relatives. Therefore, the interpretation of the functional or evolutionary significance of complexity within groups that exhibit modular growth may need to be considered under criteria modified from those used to interpret complexity in solitary organisms. Primary modules, corresponding to individuals, are the fundamental building blocks of a colonial organism. Groups of primary modules commonly form a second-order modular unit, such as a branch, which may then be iterated to form a more complex colony. Aspects of overall colony form, along with their implications for ecology and evolution, are reflected in second-order modular (structural) units to a far greater degree than by primary modular units (zooids). A colony generated by modular growth can be classified by identifying its second-order modular (structural) unit and then by characterizing the nature and relationships of these iterated units within the colony. This approach to classifying modular growth habits provides a standardized terminology and allows for direct comparison of a suite of functionally analogous character states among taxa with specific parameters of their ecology.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.