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Toward an integration of evolutionary biology and ecosystem science
EAWAG, Aquatic Ecology Department, Center for Ecology, Evolution and Biogeochemistry, Kastanienbaum, Switzerland.
Department of Biology, University of Victoria.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
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2011 (English)In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 14, no 7, 690-701 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

At present, the disciplines of evolutionary biology and ecosystem science are weakly integrated. As a result, wehave a poor understanding of how the ecological and evolutionary processes that create, maintain, and changebiological diversity affect the flux of energy and materials in global biogeochemical cycles. The goal of thisarticle was to review several research fields at the interfaces between ecosystem science, community ecologyand evolutionary biology, and suggest new ways to integrate evolutionary biology and ecosystem science.In particular, we focus on how phenotypic evolution by natural selection can influence ecosystem functionsby affecting processes at the environmental, population and community scale of ecosystem organization.We develop an eco-evolutionary model to illustrate linkages between evolutionary change (e.g. phenotypicevolution of producer), ecological interactions (e.g. consumer grazing) and ecosystem processes (e.g. nutrientcycling). We conclude by proposing experiments to test the ecosystem consequences of evolutionary changes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Vol. 14, no 7, 690-701 p.
Keyword [en]
biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, community genetics, eco-evolutionary dynamics, ecological stoichiometry, ecosystem science, evolutionary biology, feedbacks, natural selection
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87678DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01627.xISI: 000292865200008OAI: diva2:710355
Available from: 2014-04-07 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2014-05-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Evolutionary consequences of ecological interactions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evolutionary consequences of ecological interactions
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Eco-evolutionary dynamics integrates the reciprocal interactions betweenecology and evolution. These two branches of biology traditionally assumethe other as static for simplicity. However, increasing evidence shows thatthis simplification may not always hold because ecology and evolution canoperate in similar timescales. This thesis theoretically explores how thereciprocal interactions may influence ecological and evolutionary outcomesin four different eco-evolutionary contexts.Many species of non-social animals live in groups. Aggregating ingroups often has both benefits and costs that depend on group size. Thanksto the benefits of aggregation, population growth likely depends positivelyon population density when it is small. This phenomenon, the Allee effect,has been hypothesized to explain the evolution of aggregation behavior. Ifind that the Allee effect alone does not lead to the evolution whenpopulation dynamics is explicitly accounted for. Some other mechanisms,such as frequent needs for colonizing new patches or anti-aggregation,should be invoked to explain why aggregation behavior could evolve.Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of a genotype to express distinctphenotypes when exposed to different environments. Although it is oftenshown to be adaptive and not costly, highly plastic organisms are rare. Paststudies demonstrated some potential reasons. I test another possibility; costsmay arise from sexual selection because highly plastic individuals may beless preferred as a mate. I show that, even in the absence of the direct cost ofplasticity, the level of plasticity remained low at intermediate strengths ofassortative mating. This pattern is robust across wide ranges of parametervalues.Ecological speciation occurs when ecologically divergent selectionbetween environments causes reproductive isolation between divergingsubpopulations. Several verbal models of ecological speciation emphasizethe roles of phenotypic plasticity in promoting speciation. The complexprocesses involved in speciation, however, are difficult to be evaluated byverbal accounts. I quantitatively test the proposed idea in a mechanisticmodel of ecological speciation in the presence and absence of plasticity. Ifind conditions under which plasticity can promote or hinder ecologicalspeciation. Plasticity facilitates speciation by producing a gap in thedistributions of expressed phenotypes, which serves as a barrier to gene flowin an assortatively mating population.Ecosystem ecology and evolutionary biology are the least integratedfields in ecology and evolution. Natural selection operating at the individuallevels on traits governing ecosystem functions may affect ecosystemproperties, which may feedback to individuals. I reviewed this idea anddemonstrate the feedback loop by using a simple consumer-resource model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2014. 24 p.
adaptive dynamics, eco-evolutionary dynamics, ecological speciation, ecosystem, individual based, population dynamics, phenotypic plasticity, predator-prey, sexual selection
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87734 (URN)978-91-7601-018-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-04-29, Naturvetarhuset, N200, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-04-08 Created: 2014-04-07 Last updated: 2014-04-08Bibliographically approved

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