In the top journal Biological Reviews, Rafał Zwolak (Department of Systematic Zoology) published a paper on the relationships between plants and animals.
One of the most fundamental differences between plants and animals is the ability to move. Typically, animals move plenty, whereas plants are literally rooted in place and travel only at the stage of seeds. However, even seeds cannot travel by themselves, so many species of plants produce fruits to pay animals for transportation services. Thus, reproduction of many plants depends on behavior of their animal dispersers.
Researchers have grappled for decades to make sense of an enormous variation in fates of seeds that are dispersed this way. In the article, Rafał Zwolak argues that at least part of these problems results from a long tradition of treating species as composed of identical individuals that are average in every possible way – yet, it is individuals that interact with each other, not species. He reviews numerous cases when differences among individuals of the same species (in size, sex, age, and so on) have had a crucial influence on seed fate – and thus on future generations of plants.
Link to the article: