Environmental complexity, adaptability and bacterial cognition: Godfrey-Smith’s hypothesis under the microscope

Pamela Lyon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The paper presents evidence in bacteria for the utility of Godfrey-Smith’s environmental complexity thesis (ECT), using certain kinds of signal transduction systems as proxies for cognitive/behavioral complexity. Microbiologists already accept that the number of signal transduction proteins in a bacterial genome indicates the level of ecological complexity to which the organism is subject: the more signalling proteins, the greater the complexity. Sheer numbers are not always a reliable indicator of behavioral complexity, however. The paper proposes a new, ECT-based procedure for identifying, from genomic sequence and signalling repertoire, novel bacterial candidates likely to exhibit behavioral complexity in response to a complex ecological niche.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)443-465
    Number of pages23
    JournalBiology and Philosophy
    Volume32
    Issue number3
    Early online date2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

    Keywords

    • Bacteria
    • Cognition
    • Environmental complexity thesis
    • Evolution
    • Sociality

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