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Trends Ecol Evol. 2016 Aug;31(8):633-645. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2016.05.001. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

An Ecological and Evolutionary Framework for Commensalism in Anthropogenic Environments.

Author information

1
Department of Archaeology, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, St Mary's Building, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF, UK; Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, 12-14 Abercromby Square, Liverpool, L69 7WZ, UK. Electronic address: a.hulme-beaman@abdn.ac.uk.
2
Department of Archaeology, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, St Mary's Building, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF, UK; Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, 12-14 Abercromby Square, Liverpool, L69 7WZ, UK.
3
Department of Archaeology, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, St Mary's Building, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF, UK; Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, CNRS UMR7209, Paris, France.
4
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Corson Hall, Ithaca, NY14853-2701, USA.

Abstract

Commensalism within anthropogenic environments has not been extensively discussed, despite its impact on humans, and there is no formal framework for assessing this ecological relationship in its varied forms. Here, we examine commensalism in anthropogenic environments in detail, considering both ecological and evolutionary drivers. The many assumptions about commensalism and the nature of anthropogenic environments are discussed and we highlight dependency as a key attribute of anthropogenic commensals (anthrodependent taxa). We primarily focus on mammalian species in the anthropogenic-commensal niche, but the traits described and selective pressures presented are likely fundamental to many species engaged in intense commensal relationships with humans. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this largely understudied interaction represents an important opportunity to investigate evolutionary processes in rapidly changing environments.

KEYWORDS:

anthropogenic environments; anthropogenic niche; commensal species; commensalism

PMID:
27297117
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2016.05.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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