Eco-evolutionary dynamics of communities and ecosystems


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  • 1We review theoretical and empirical studies to identify instances where evolutionary processes significantly affect the dynamics of populations, communities and ecosystems.
  • 2Early theoretical work on eco-evolutionary dynamics was concerned with the effect of (co)evolution on the stability of two-species predator–prey systems and the occurrence of character displacement in simple competitive systems. Today's theoretical ecologists are extending this work to study the eco-evolutionary dynamics of multispecies communities and the functioning and evolutionary emergence of ecosystems.
  • 3In terms of methodology, eco-evolutionary modelling has diversified from simple, locus-based population genetic models to encompass models of clonal selection, quantitative trait dynamics and adaptive dynamics.
  • 4The few empirical studies on community dynamics that explicitly considered evolutionary processes support the view that evolutionary and ecological dynamics often occur on similar time-scales, and that they co-determine the dynamical behaviour of ecological communities.