Canalisation and capacitance measure robustness. Let's assume a low-level property such as the kinetic rate of an enzyme has a certain distribution of mutational effects (black line) and influences a high-level property such as a fitness correlate (filled area). If the variance of the high-level property is smaller than that of the low-level property, then the high-level property can be said to experience 'canalisation'. Conversely, the high-level property experiences 'capacitance' if its variance is larger. To make these two properties comparable, their values on the x-axis are both plotted as relative deviations [(xmutant - xwild)/xwild].
Loewe BMC Systems Biology 2009 3:27 doi:10.1186/1752-0509-3-27