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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1133:87-125. doi: 10.1196/annals.1438.003.

Interplay between ecological communities and evolution: review of feedbacks from microevolutionary to macroevolutionary scales.

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Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA.


There is growing interest in the interplay between ecological interactions among community members and evolutionary processes. At all scales, from genetic variation within populations, through variation across populations, species, and clades, we find feedbacks between ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Ecological interactions are a source of selection that can drive local adaptation and speciation; conversely, how populations evolve in response to such selection can feed back to modify species interactions, communities, and ecological dynamics. We review ecoevolutionary linkages in theoretical and empirical studies in several areas including the following: (1) how intraspecific genetic variation affects communities, (2) multispecies interactions that cause diffuse selection and geographic mosaics of selection, (3) how rapid evolution can generate ecoevolutionary feedback, (4) interpretation of phylogenetic signal in community assembly, and (5) the macroevolutionary consequences of multispecies interactions. We highlight new approaches that may contribute to advances in each of these areas. We also discuss ways of linking these different disciplines, specifically by documenting feedbacks between evolution and ecological communities across multiple scales.

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