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Trends Ecol Evol. 2007 May;22(5):250-7. Epub 2007 Feb 12.

An emerging synthesis between community ecology and evolutionary biology.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3B2, Canada.


A synthesis between community ecology and evolutionary biology is emerging that identifies how genetic variation and evolution within one species can shape the ecological properties of entire communities and, in turn, how community context can govern evolutionary processes and patterns. This synthesis incorporates research on the ecology and evolution within communities over short timescales (community genetics and diffuse coevolution), as well as macroevolutionary timescales (community phylogenetics and co-diversification of communities). As we discuss here, preliminary evidence supports the hypothesis that there is a dynamic interplay between ecology and evolution within communities, yet researchers have not yet demonstrated convincingly whether, and under what circumstances, it is important for biologists to bridge community ecology and evolutionary biology. Answering this question will have important implications for both basic and applied problems in biology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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