The diversity of eco-evolutionary dynamics: Comparing the feedbacks between ecology and evolution across scales
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Evidence of reciprocal influences between ecological and evolutionary processes (eco-evolutionary dynamics) is accumulating at different levels of biological organisation, ranging from populations to communities and even ecosystems. This special feature showcases the state-of-the art knowledge on eco-evolutionary dynamics and dissects the feedback types, the biological and spatial scales as well as the agents of selection underlying the interactions between ecology and evolution. Theoretical approaches to eco-evolutionary feedbacks can draw on a wide range of fields and have a long history within evolutionary ecology. The integration of theoretical approaches from quantitative genetics, evolutionary ecology, and metapopulation ecology is necessary to advance our understanding of rapid evolution and associated eco-evolutionary dynamics. Empirical studies in this special feature focus on the evolution-to-ecology pathway by which evolutionary processes influence ecological dynamics (the direction in eco-evolutionary dynamics less well studied). Advancing towards the study of complete (i.e. reciprocal) eco-evolutionary feedbacks requires unravelling both the ecology-to-evolution and the evolution-to-ecology pathways in isolation and understanding how they are coupled. This endeavour will require a combination of laboratory, semi-natural (e.g. mesocosm) and field studies. As the field of eco-evolutionary dynamics matures, it moves from proof-of-principle studies to understanding increasingly complex biological systems. This Special Feature provides necessary tools and approaches, both theoretical and empirical, to achieve this new aim.
AuthorsBrunner, FS; Deere, JA; Egas, M; Eizaguirre, C; Raeymaekers, JAM
- Organismal Biology