The ecogenetic link between demography and evolution: can we bridge the gap between theory and data?
Article first published online: 20 JUL 2007
Volume 10, Issue 9, pages 773–782, September 2007
How to Cite
Kokko, H. and López-Sepulcre, A. (2007), The ecogenetic link between demography and evolution: can we bridge the gap between theory and data?. Ecology Letters, 10: 773–782. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01086.x
- Issue published online: 27 JUL 2007
- Article first published online: 20 JUL 2007
- Editor, Tim Coulson Manuscript received 29 January 2007 First decision made 7 March 2007 Manuscript accepted 21 June 2007
- Comparative analysis;
- density-dependent selection;
- eco-evolutionary feedback;
- experimental evolution;
- frequency-dependent selection;
- life-history theory
Calls to understand the links between ecology and evolution have been common for decades. Population dynamics, i.e. the demographic changes in populations, arise from life history decisions of individuals and thus are a product of selection, and selection, on the contrary, can be modified by such dynamical properties of the population as density and stability. It follows that generating predictions and testing them correctly requires considering this ecogenetic feedback loop whenever traits have demographic consequences, mediated via density dependence (or frequency dependence). This is not an easy challenge, and arguably theory has advanced at a greater pace than empirical research. However, theory would benefit from more interaction between related fields, as is evident in the many near-synonymous names that the ecogenetic loop has attracted. We also list encouraging examples where empiricists have shown feasible ways of addressing the question, ranging from advanced data analysis to experiments and comparative analyses of phylogenetic data.