Seminar #56: Developing organisms
Developing organisms. The organisation of development and the development of organisation
Speaker: Laura Nuño de la Rosa
Date: Friday, December 4, 2009
Start time 15:00
Building ARUNDEL BUILDING, Room 404
ABSTRACT: Developmental biology remains under-explored as a theoretical and empirical resource to clarify the nature of organisms. In my presentation I will discuss how embryology (including the new fields of behavioural embryology and ecological developmental biology) can help develop the definition of the organism as a functionally integrated and autonomous system. To this purpose, I will first summarize the organizational definition of organism in order to discuss if those approaches inspired in adult organisms (what I call the constitutive view of the organism) and those referring to developing systems (what I call the life-history view of the organism) identify organisms as the same entities. I will argue that the developing organism does not fully fulfil the requirements of organisational definition at every stage of its ontogeny. Under the light of current research in developmental biology, I will make explicit how organisms come to be. To this end, I will explore key ontogenetic events that help us clarify core aspects of animal organisation and allow us to identify the developmental stage that marks the transition between an organism in potency and an organism in actuality.