Evolutionary biologists have long endeavored to document how many species exist on Earth, to understand the processes by which biodiversity waxes and wanes, to document and interpret spatial patterns of biodiversity, and to infer evolutionary relationships. Despite the great potential of this knowledge to improve biodiversity science, conservation, and policy, evolutionary biologists have generally devoted limited attention to these broader implications. Likewise, many workers in biodiversity science have underappreciated the fundamental relevance of evolutionary biology. The aim of this article is to summarize and illustrate some ways in which evolutionary biology is directly relevant We do so in the context of four broad areas: (1) discovering and documenting biodiversity, (2) understanding the causes of diversification, (3) evaluating evolutionary responses to human disturbances, and (4) implications for ecological communities, ecosystems, and humans We also introduce bioGENESIS, a new project within DIVERSITAS launched to explore the potential practical contributions of evolutionary biology In addition to fostering the integration of evolutionary thinking into biodiversity science, bioGENESIS provides practical recommendations to policy makers for incorporating evolutionary perspectives into biodiversity agendas and conservation. We solicit your involvement in developing innovative ways of using evolutionary biology to better comprehend and stem the loss of biodiversity.; Yale University; Yale University; Kyushu University; Kyushu University; EDIT; EDIT; Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP); FAPESP; Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP); Universidade de São Paulo (USP); CNPq; Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq); DIVERSITAS; DIVERSITAS
A adaptação e a diversificação em sistemas multiespecíficos são crescentemente reconhecidas como processos relevantes para a compreensão da biodiversidade. Nosso objetivo foi investigar como a seleção natural relacionada a interações ecológicas influencia a estrutura, dinâmica e diversificação de assembleias mutualistas. Primeiro, modelamos como mutualismo e competição intraespecífica geram regimes seletivos antagônicos que definem padrões de diversificação. Nossos modelos preveem que em mutualismos de baixa intimidade, nos quais cada organismo têm muitos parceiros individuais, fenótipos extremos têm interações mutualísticas desajustadas em relação à complementaridade de traços, contrabalanceando efeitos diversificadores da competição intraespecífica e restringindo a especiação. Em sistemas de alta intimidade, nos quais mutualismos têm maior impacto adaptativo e cada organismo têm poucos parceiros, tal seleção estabilizadora imposta por mutualismos é reduzida, favorecendo a diversificação. Entretanto, mutualismos de baixa intimidade são mais ricos que mutualismos íntimos na natureza. Sob baixa intimidade de interações, adições de espécies não-aparentadas envolvidas em dinâmicas de convergência constituem explicação plausível para essa discrepância. Em sistemas de alta intimidade...
Evolutionary ecologists and population biologists have recently considered that ecological and evolutionary changes are intimately linked and can occur on the same time-scale. Recent theoretical developments have shown how the feedback between ecological and evolutionary dynamics can be linked, and there are now empirical demonstrations showing that ecological change can lead to rapid evolutionary change. We also have evidence that microevolutionary change can leave an ecological signature. We are at a stage where the integration of ecology and evolution is a necessary step towards major advances in our understanding of the processes that shape and maintain biodiversity. This special feature about ‘eco-evolutionary dynamics’ brings together biologists from empirical and theoretical backgrounds to bridge the gap between ecology and evolution and provide a series of contributions aimed at quantifying the interactions between these fundamental processes.
The struggle for existence occurs through the vital rates of population growth. This basic fact demonstrates the tight connection between ecology and evolution that defines the emerging field of eco-evolutionary dynamics. An effective synthesis of the interdependencies between ecology and evolution is grounded in six principles. The mechanics of evolution specifies the origin and rules governing traits and evolutionary strategies. Traits and evolutionary strategies achieve their selective value through their functional relationships with fitness. Function depends on the underlying structure of variation and the temporal, spatial and organizational scales of evolution. An understanding of how changes in traits and strategies occur requires conjoining ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Adaptation merges these five pillars to achieve a comprehensive understanding of ecological and evolutionary change. I demonstrate the value of this world-view with reference to the theory and practice of habitat selection. The theory allows us to assess evolutionarily stable strategies and states of habitat selection, and to draw the adaptive landscapes for habitat-selecting species. The landscapes can then be used to forecast future evolution under a variety of climate change and other scenarios.
Demographic population dynamics, gene flow, and local adaptation may influence each other and lead to coupling of ecological and evolutionary dynamics, especially in species inhabiting fragmented heterogeneous environments. Here, I review long-term research on eco-evolutionary spatial dynamics in the Glanville fritillary butterfly inhabiting a large network of approximately 4,000 meadows in Finland. The metapopulation persists in a balance between frequent local extinctions and recolonizations. The genetic spatial structure as defined by neutral markers is much more coarse-grained than the demographic spatial structure determined by the fragmented habitat, yet small-scale spatial structure has important consequences for the dynamics. I discuss three examples of eco-evolutionary spatial dynamics. (i) Extinction-colonization metapopulation dynamics influence allele frequency changes in the phosphoglucose isomerase (Pgi) gene, which leads to strong associations between genetic variation in Pgi and dispersal, recolonization, and local population dynamics. (ii) Inbreeding in local populations increases their risk for extinction, whereas reciprocal effects between inbreeding, population size, and emigration represent likely eco-evolutionary feedbacks. (iii) Genetically determined female oviposition preference for two host plant species exhibits a cline paralleling a gradient in host plant relative abundances...
Evolutionary changes in natural populations are often so fast that the evolutionary dynamics may influence ecological population dynamics and vice versa. Here we construct an eco-evolutionary model for dispersal by combining a stochastic patch occupancy metapopulation model with a model for changes in the frequency of fast-dispersing individuals in local populations. We test the model using data on allelic variation in the gene phosphoglucose isomerase (Pgi), which is strongly associated with dispersal rate in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Population-specific measures of immigration and extinction rates and the frequency of fast-dispersing individuals among the immigrants explained 40% of spatial variation in Pgi allele frequency among 97 local populations. The model clarifies the roles of founder events and gene flow in dispersal evolution and resolves a controversy in the literature about the consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation on the evolution of dispersal.
Biotic invaders and similar anthropogenic novelties such as domesticates, transgenics, and cancers can alter ecology and evolution in environmental, agricultural, natural resource, public health, and medical systems. The resulting biological changes may either hinder or serve management objectives. For example, biological control and eradication programs are often defeated by unanticipated resistance evolution and by irreversibility of invader impacts. Moreover, eradication may be ill-advised when nonnatives introduce beneficial functions. Thus, contexts that appear to call for eradication may instead demand managed coexistence of natives with nonnatives, and yet applied biologists have not generally considered the need to manage the eco-evolutionary dynamics that commonly result from interactions of natives with nonnatives. Here, I advocate a conciliatory approach to managing systems where novel organisms cannot or should not be eradicated. Conciliatory strategies incorporate benefits of nonnatives to address many practical needs including slowing rates of resistance evolution, promoting evolution of indigenous biological control, cultivating replacement services and novel functions, and managing native–nonnative coevolution. Evolutionary links across disciplines foster cohesion essential for managing the broad impacts of novel biotic systems. Rather than signaling defeat...
Fine-scale genetic diversity and contemporary evolution can theoretically influence ecological dynamics in the wild. Such eco-evolutionary effects might be particularly relevant to the persistence of populations facing acute or chronic environmental change. However, experimental data on wild populations is currently lacking to support this notion. One way that ongoing evolution might influence the dynamics of threatened populations is through the role that selection plays in mediating the ‘rescue effect’, the ability of migrants to contribute to the recovery of populations facing local disturbance and decline. Here, we combine experiments with natural catastrophic events to show that ongoing evolution is a major determinant of migrant contributions to population recovery in Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata). These eco-evolutionary limits on migrant contributions appear to be mediated by the reinforcing effects of natural and sexual selection against migrants, despite the close geographic proximity of migrant sources. These findings show that ongoing adaptive evolution can be a double-edged sword for population persistence, maintaining local fitness at a cost to demographic risk. Our study further serves as a potent reminder that significant evolutionary and eco-evolutionary dynamics might be at play even where the phenotypic status quo is largely maintained generation to generation.
The demand for projections of the future distribution of biodiversity has triggered an upsurge in modelling at the crossroads between ecology and evolution. Despite the enthusiasm around these so-called biodiversity models, most approaches are still criticized for not integrating key processes known to shape species ranges and community structure. Developing an integrative modelling framework for biodiversity distribution promises to improve the reliability of predictions and to give a better understanding of the eco-evolutionary dynamics of species and communities under changing environments. In this paper, we briefly review some eco-evolutionary processes and interplays among them which are essential to provide reliable projections of species distributions and community structure. We identify gaps in theory, quantitative knowledge and data availability hampering the development of an integrated modelling framework. We argue that model development relying on a strong theoretical foundation is essential to inspire new models, manage complexity and to maintain tractability. We support our argument with an example of a novel integrated model for species distribution modelling, derived from metapopulation theory, which accounts for abiotic constraints...
Understanding the eco-evolutionary dynamics of species under rapid climate change is vital for both accurate forecasting of biodiversity responses and for developing effective management strategies. Using an individual-based model we demonstrate that the presence and form (colour) of inter-annual variability in environmental conditions can impact the evolution of dispersal during range shifts. Under stable climate, temporal variability typically results in higher dispersal. However, at expanding margins, inter-annual variability actually inhibits the evolution of higher emigration propensities by disrupting the spatial sorting and natural selection processes. These results emphasize the need for future theoretical studies, as well as predictive modelling, to account for the potential impacts of inter-annual variability.
Microbial communities abound with examples of complex social interactions that shape microbial ecosystems. One particularly striking example is microbial cooperation via the secretion of public goods. It has been suggested by theory, and recently demonstrated experimentally, that microbial population dynamics and the evolutionary dynamics of cooperative social genes take place with similar timescales, and are linked to each other via an eco-evolutionary feedback loop. We overview this recent evidence, and discuss the possibility that a third process may be also part of this loop: phenotypic dynamics. Complex social strategies may be implemented at the single-cell level by means of gene regulatory networks. Thus gene expression plasticity or stochastic gene expression, both of which may occur with a timescale of one to a few generations, can potentially lead to a three-way coupling between behavioral dynamics, population dynamics, and evolutionary dynamics
In the biosphere, many species live in close proximity and can thus interact in many different ways. Such interactions are dynamic and fall along a continuum between antagonism and cooperation. Because interspecies interactions are the key to understanding biological communities, it is important to know how species interactions arise and evolve. Here, we show that the feedback between ecological and evolutionary processes has a fundamental role in the emergence and dynamics of species interaction. Using a two-species artificial community, we demonstrate that ecological processes and rapid evolution interact to influence the dynamics of the symbiosis between a eukaryote (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and a bacterium (Rhizobium etli). The simplicity of our experimental design enables an explicit statement of causality. The niche-constructing activities of the fungus were the key ecological process: it allowed the establishment of a commensal relationship that switched to ammensalism and provided the selective conditions necessary for the adaptive evolution of the bacteria. In this latter state, the bacterial population radiates into more than five genotypes that vary with respect to nutrient transport, metabolic strategies and global regulation. Evolutionary diversification of the bacterial populations has strong effects on the community; the nature of interaction subsequently switches from ammensalism to antagonism where bacteria promote yeast extinction. Our results demonstrate the importance of the evolution-to-ecology pathway in the persistence of interactions and the stability of communities. Thus...
Rapid evolution on an ecological time scale has been increasingly recognized. Ecological and evolutionary dynamics can be tightly linked and important to predict future dynamics, but there is a significant gap between theoretical predictions and empirical tests, especially on the effects of the nature of genetic variation such as the form of a fitness tradeoff. Using a predator–prey experimental system, we show for the first time to our knowledge that different forms of a fitness tradeoff produce remarkably divergent eco-evolutionary dynamics. A mathematical model supports the observed dynamics. Our results suggest that without knowing the details of genetic variation that is usually variable among wild populations, it is difficult to understand how evolution and ecology interact and what form of eco-evolutionary dynamics results.
Although plasmids and other episomes are recognized as key players in horizontal gene transfer among microbes, their diversity and dynamics among ecologically structured host populations in the wild remain poorly understood. Here, we show that natural populations of marine Vibrionaceae bacteria host large numbers of families of episomes, consisting of plasmids and a surprisingly high fraction of plasmid-like temperate phages. Episomes are unevenly distributed among host populations, and contrary to the notion that high-density communities in biofilms act as hot spots of gene transfer, we identified a strong bias for episomes to occur in free-living as opposed to particle-attached cells. Mapping of episomal families onto host phylogeny shows that, with the exception of all phage and a few plasmid families, most are of recent evolutionary origin and appear to have spread rapidly by horizontal transfer. Such high eco-evolutionary turnover is particularly surprising for plasmids that are, based on previously suggested categorization, putatively nontransmissible, indicating that this type of plasmid is indeed frequently transferred by currently unknown mechanisms. Finally, analysis of recent gene transfer among plasmids reveals a network of extensive exchange connecting nearly all episomes. Genes functioning in plasmid transfer and maintenance are frequently exchanged...
Individual heterogeneity in life history shapes eco-evolutionary processes, and unobserved heterogeneity can affect demographic outputs characterising life history and population dynamical properties. Demographic frameworks like matrix models or integral projection models represent powerful approaches to disentangle mechanisms linking individual life histories and population-level processes. Recent developments have provided important steps towards their application to study eco-evolutionary dynamics, but so far individual heterogeneity has largely been ignored. Here, we present a general demographic framework that incorporates individual heterogeneity in a flexible way, by separating static and dynamic traits (discrete or continuous). First, we apply the framework to derive the consequences of ignoring heterogeneity for a range of widely used demographic outputs. A general conclusion is that besides the long-term growth rate lambda, all parameters can be affected. Second, we discuss how the framework can help advance current demographic models of eco-evolutionary dynamics, by incorporating individual heterogeneity. For both applications numerical examples are provided, including an empirical example for pike. For instance, we demonstrate that predicted demographic responses to climate warming can be reversed by increased heritability. We discuss how applications of this demographic framework incorporating individual heterogeneity can help answer key biological questions that require a detailed understanding of eco-evolutionary dynamics.
Understanding the consequences of environmental change on ecological and evolutionary dynamics is inherently problematic because of the complex interplay between them. Using invertebrates in microcosms, we characterise phenotypic, population and evolutionary dynamics before, during and after exposure to a novel environment and harvesting over 20 generations. We demonstrate an evolved change in life-history traits (the age- and size-at-maturity, and survival to maturity) in response to selection caused by environmental change (wild to laboratory) and to harvesting (juvenile or adult). Life-history evolution, which drives changes in population growth rate and thus population dynamics, includes an increase in age-to-maturity of 76% (from 12.5 to 22 days) in the unharvested populations as they adapt to the new environment. Evolutionary responses to harvesting are outweighed by the response to environmental change (∼ 1.4 vs. 4% change in age-at-maturity per generation). The adaptive response to environmental change converts a negative population growth trajectory into a positive one: an example of evolutionary rescue.
Increasing acceptance of the idea that evolution can proceed rapidly has generated considerable interest in understanding the consequences of ongoing evolutionary change for populations, communities and ecosystems. The nascent field of ‘eco-evolutionary dynamics' considers these interactions, including reciprocal feedbacks between evolution and ecology. Empirical support for eco-evolutionary dynamics has emerged from several model systems, and we here present some possibilities for diverse and strong effects in Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). We specifically focus on the consequences that natural selection on body size can have for salmon population dynamics, community (bear-salmon) interactions and ecosystem process (fluxes of salmon biomass between habitats). For example, we find that shifts in body size because of selection can alter fluxes across habitats by up to 11% compared with ecological (that is, numerical) effects. More generally, we show that selection within a generation can have large effects on ecological dynamics and so should be included within a complete eco-evolutionary framework.
Increasing acceptance that evolution can be ‘rapid' (or ‘contemporary') has generated growing interest in the consequences for ecology. The genetics and genomics of these ‘eco-evolutionary dynamics' will be—to a large extent—the genetics and genomics of organismal phenotypes. In the hope of stimulating research in this area, I review empirical data from natural populations and draw the following conclusions. (1) Considerable additive genetic variance is present for most traits in most populations. (2) Trait correlations do not consistently oppose selection. (3) Adaptive differences between populations often involve dominance and epistasis. (4) Most adaptation is the result of genes of small-to-modest effect, although (5) some genes certainly have larger effects than the others. (6) Adaptation by independent lineages to similar environments is mostly driven by different alleles/genes. (7) Adaptation to new environments is mostly driven by standing genetic variation, although new mutations can be important in some instances. (8) Adaptation is driven by both structural and regulatory genetic variation, with recent studies emphasizing the latter. (9) The ecological effects of organisms, considered as extended phenotypes, are often heritable. Overall...
In a complex system, the individual components are neither so tightly coupled
or correlated that they can all be treated as a single unit, nor so
uncorrelated that they can be approximated as independent entities. Instead,
patterns of interdependency lead to structure at multiple scales of
organization. Evolution excels at producing such complex structures. In turn,
the existence of these complex interrelationships within a biological system
affects the evolutionary dynamics of that system. I present a mathematical
formalism for multiscale structure, grounded in information theory, which makes
these intuitions quantitative, and I show how dynamics defined in terms of
population genetics or evolutionary game theory can lead to multiscale
organization. For complex systems, "more is different," and I address this from
several perspectives. Spatial host--consumer models demonstrate the importance
of the structures which can arise due to dynamical pattern formation.
Evolutionary game theory reveals the novel effects which can result from
multiplayer games, nonlinear payoffs and ecological stochasticity. Replicator
dynamics in an environment with mesoscale structure relates to generalized
conditionalization rules in probability theory. The idea of natural selection
"acting at multiple levels" has been mathematized in a variety of ways...
Interactions between natural selection and environmental change are well recognized and sit at the core of ecology and evolutionary biology. Reciprocal interactions between ecology and evolution, eco-evolutionary feedbacks, are less well studied, even though they may be critical for understanding the evolution of biological diversity, the structure of communities and the function of ecosystems. Eco-evolutionary feedbacks require that populations alter their environment (niche construction) and that those changes in the environment feed back to influence the subsequent evolution of the population. There is strong evidence that organisms influence their environment through predation, nutrient excretion and habitat modification, and that populations evolve in response to changes in their environment at time-scales congruent with ecological change (contemporary evolution). Here, we outline how the niche construction and contemporary evolution interact to alter the direction of evolution and the structure and function of communities and ecosystems. We then present five empirical systems that highlight important characteristics of eco-evolutionary feedbacks: rotifer-algae chemostats; alewife-zooplankton interactions in lakes; guppy life-history evolution and nutrient cycling in streams; avian seed predators and plants; and tree leaf chemistry and soil processes. The alewife-zooplankton system provides the most complete evidence for eco-evolutionary feedbacks...