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  • Evolutionary Community Ecology: Time to Think Outside the (Taxonomic) Box
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-26
    Taylor M. Wilcox, Michael K. Schwartz, Winsor H. Lowe

    Ecologists and evolutionary biologists have long been interested in the role of interspecific competition in the diversification of clades. These studies often focus on a single taxonomic group, making the implicit assumption that important competitive interactions occur only between closely related taxa, despite abundant documentation of intense competition between species that are distantly related. Specifically, this assumption ignores convergence of distantly related competitors on limiting niche axes and thus may miss cryptic effects of distantly related competitors on the evolution of focal clades. For example, distantly related competitors may act as important drivers of niche conservatism within clades, a pattern commonly ascribed to evolutionary constraints or the abiotic environment. Here we propose an alternative model of how niche similarity evolves when the functional traits of interest are mediated by unrelated phenotypic traits, as is often the case for distantly related competitors. This model represents an important conceptual step towards a more accurate, taxonomically inclusive understanding of the role that competition plays in the micro- and macroevolution of interacting species.

  • Towards a Comparable Quantification of Resilience
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-21
    Johannes Ingrisch, Michael Bahn

    Resilience is a key concept in ecology and describes the capacity of an ecosystem to maintain its state and recover from disturbances. Numerous metrics have been applied to quantify resilience over a range of ecosystems. However, the way resilience is quantified affects the degree to which different trajectories of ecosystem recovery from disturbance are represented as ‘resilient’, precluding a comparison of disturbance responses across ecosystems and their properties and functions. To approach a broadly comparable assessment of resilience we suggest using a bivariate framework that jointly considers the disturbance impact and the recovery rate, both normalized to the undisturbed state of a system. We demonstrate the potential of the framework for attribution and integration across the various components underlying resilience.

  • Evolved Dependence in Response to Cancer
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-20
    Frédéric Thomas, Irina Kareva, Nynke Raven, Rodrigo Hamede, Pascal Pujol, Benjamin Roche, Beata Ujvari

    Evolved dependence is a process through which one species becomes ‘dependent’ on another following a long evolutionary history of interaction. This happens when adaptations selected in the first species for interacting lead to fitness costs when the second species is not encountered. Evolved dependence is frequent in host–parasite interactions, where hosts may achieve a higher fitness in the presence of the parasite than in its absence. Since oncogenic manifestations are (i) ubiquitous across multicellular life, (ii) involved in parasitic-like interactions with their hosts, and (iii) have effectively driven the selection of numerous adaptations, it is possible that multicellular organisms display evolved dependence in response to oncogenic processes. We provide a comprehensive overview of the topic, including the implications for cancer prevention and treatment.

  • Ecoevolutionary Dynamics of Carbon Cycling in the Anthropocene
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-19
    J. Grey Monroe, David W. Markman, Whitney S. Beck, Andrew J. Felton, Megan L. Vahsen, Yamina Pressler

    Climate change is altering natural selection globally, which could shift the evolutionary trajectories of traits central to the carbon (C) cycle. Here, we examine the components necessary for the evolution of C cycling traits to substantially drive changes in global C cycling and integrate these components into a framework of ecoevolutionary dynamics. Recent evidence points to the evolution of C cycling traits during the Anthropocene and the potential to significantly affect atmospheric CO2. We identify directions for further collaboration between evolutionary, ecosystem, and climate scientists to study these ecoevolutionary feedback dynamics and determine whether this evolution will ultimately accelerate or decelerate the current trend in rising atmospheric CO2.

  • Towards the Integration of Niche and Network Theories
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-19
    Oscar Godoy, Ignasi Bartomeus, Rudolf P. Rohr, Serguei Saavedra

    The quest for understanding how species interactions modulate diversity has progressed by theoretical and empirical advances following niche and network theories. Yet, niche studies have been limited to describe coexistence within tropic levels despite incorporating information about multi-trophic interactions. Network approaches could address this limitation, but they have ignored the structure of species interactions within trophic levels. Here we call for the integration of niche and network theories to reach new frontiers of knowledge exploring how interactions within and across trophic levels promote species coexistence. This integration is possible due to the strong parallelisms in the historical development, ecological concepts, and associated mathematical tools of both theories. We provide a guideline to integrate this framework with observational and experimental studies.

  • Parasitism and the Biodiversity-Functioning Relationship
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-15
    André Frainer, Brendan G. McKie, Per-Arne Amundsen, Rune Knudsen, Kevin D. Lafferty

    Species interactions can influence ecosystem functioning by enhancing or suppressing the activities of species that drive ecosystem processes, or by causing changes in biodiversity. However, one important class of species interactions – parasitism – has been little considered in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BD-EF) research. Parasites might increase or decrease ecosystem processes by reducing host abundance. Parasites could also increase trait diversity by suppressing dominant species or by increasing within-host trait diversity. These different mechanisms by which parasites might affect ecosystem function pose challenges in predicting their net effects. Nonetheless, given the ubiquity of parasites, we propose that parasite–host interactions should be incorporated into the BD-EF framework.

  • Rabbits and the Specious Origins of Domestication
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-14
    Evan K. Irving-Pease, Laurent A.F. Frantz, Naomi Sykes, Cécile Callou, Greger Larson

    Rabbits are commonly thought to have been domesticated in ∼AD600 by French monks. Using historical and archaeological records, and genetic methods, we demonstrate that this is a misconception and the general inability to date domestication stems from both methodological biases and the lack of appreciation of domestication as a continuum.

  • Temporal Dynamism of Resource Capture: A Missing Factor in Ecology?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-09
    Emily J. Schofield, Jennifer K. Rowntree, Eric Paterson, Rob W. Brooker

    Temporal dynamism of plant resource capture, and its impacts on plant–plant interactions, can have important regulatory roles in multispecies communities. For example, by modifying resource acquisition timing, plants might reduce competition and promote their coexistence. However, despite the potential wide ecological relevance of this topic, short-term (within growing season) temporal dynamism has been overlooked. This is partially a consequence of historic reliance on measures made at single points in time. We propose that with current technological advances this is a golden opportunity to study within growing season temporal dynamism of resource capture by plants in highly informative ways. We set out here an agenda for future developments in this research field, and explore how new technologies can deliver this agenda.

  • Microplastics: No Small Problem for Filter-Feeding Megafauna
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-02-06
    Elitza S. Germanov, Andrea D. Marshall, Lars Bejder, Maria Cristina Fossi, Neil R. Loneragan

    Microplastic pollution can impact filter-feeding marine megafauna, namely mobulid rays, filter-feeding sharks, and baleen whales. Emerging research on these flagship species highlights potential exposure to microplastic contamination and plastic-associated toxins. Research and its wide communication are needed to understand the magnitude of the issue and improve marine stewardship.

  • Planetary Boundaries for Biodiversity: Implausible Science, Pernicious Policies
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-07
    José M. Montoya, Ian Donohue, Stuart L. Pimm

    The notion of a ‘safe operating space for biodiversity’ is vague and encourages harmful policies. Attempts to fix it strip it of all meaningful content. Ecology is rapidly gaining insights into the connections between biodiversity and ecosystem stability. We have no option but to understand ecological complexity and act accordingly.

  • Moving Character Displacement beyond Characters Using Contemporary Coexistence Theory
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-25
    Rachel M. Germain, Jennifer L. Williams, Dolph Schluter, Amy L. Angert

    Character displacement is one of the most studied phenomena in evolutionary biology, yet research has narrowly focused on demonstrating whether or not displacement has occurred. We propose a new experimental approach, adopted from the coexistence literature, that directly measures interspecific competition among sympatric and allopatric populations of species. Doing so allows increased ability to (i) test predictions of character displacement without biases inherent to character-centric tests, (ii) quantify its effect on the stability of coexistence, (iii) resolve the phenotypic pathways through which competitive divergence is achieved, and (iv) perform comparative tests. Our approach extends research to forms of character displacement not readily identified by past methods and will lead to a broader understanding of its consequences for community structure.

  • Predicting Predator Recognition in a Changing World
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-10
    Alexandra J.R. Carthey, Daniel T. Blumstein

    Through natural as well as anthropogenic processes, prey can lose historically important predators and gain novel ones. Both predator gain and loss frequently have deleterious consequences. While numerous hypotheses explain the response of individuals to novel and familiar predators, we lack a unifying conceptual model that predicts the fate of prey following the introduction of a novel or a familiar (reintroduced) predator. Using the concept of eco-evolutionary experience, we create a new framework that allows us to predict whether prey will recognize and be able to discriminate predator cues from non-predator cues and, moreover, the likely persistence outcomes for 11 different predator–prey interaction scenarios. This framework generates useful and testable predictions for ecologists, conservation scientists, and decision-makers.

  • Movers and Stayers: Novel Assemblages in Changing Environments
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-21
    Richard J. Hobbs, Leonie E. Valentine, Rachel J. Standish, Stephen T. Jackson

    Increased attention to species movement in response to environmental change highlights the need to consider changes in species distributions and altered biological assemblages. Such changes are well known from paleoecological studies, but have accelerated with ongoing pervasive human influence. In addition to species that move, some species will stay put, leading to an array of novel interactions. Species show a variety of responses that can allow movement or persistence. Conservation and restoration actions have traditionally focused on maintaining or returning species in particular places, but increasingly also include interventions that facilitate movement. Approaches are required that incorporate the fluidity of biotic assemblages into the goals set and interventions deployed.

  • Earth Observation Networks (EONs): Finding the Right Balance
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-02
    David B. Lindenmayer, Gene E. Likens, Jerry F. Franklin

    Earth observation networks (EONs) are an emerging, surveillance-based approach to environmental monitoring and research that are fundamentally different than traditional question-driven, experimentally designed approaches. There is an urgent need to find an optimal balance between these approaches and to develop new integrated initiatives that take advantage of key features of them both.

  • Embracing Colonizations: A New Paradigm for Species Association Dynamics
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-04
    Sören Nylin, Salvatore Agosta, Staffan Bensch, Walter A. Boeger, Mariana P. Braga, Daniel R. Brooks, Matthew L. Forister, Peter A. Hambäck, Eric P. Hoberg, Tommi Nyman, Alexander Schäpers, Alycia L. Stigall, Christopher W. Wheat, Martin Österling, Niklas Janz

    Parasite–host and insect–plant research have divergent traditions despite the fact that most phytophagous insects live parasitically on their host plants. In parasitology it is a traditional assumption that parasites are typically highly specialized; cospeciation between parasites and hosts is a frequently expressed default expectation. Insect–plant theory has been more concerned with host shifts than with cospeciation, and more with hierarchies among hosts than with extreme specialization. We suggest that the divergent assumptions in the respective fields have hidden a fundamental similarity with an important role for potential as well as actual hosts, and hence for host colonizations via ecological fitting. A common research program is proposed which better prepares us for the challenges from introduced species and global change.

  • Predicting Chronic Climate-Driven Disturbances and Their Mitigation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-13
    Nate G. McDowell, Sean T. Michaletz, Katrina E. Bennett, Kurt C. Solander, Chonggang Xu, Reed M. Maxwell, Richard S. Middleton

    Society increasingly demands the stable provision of ecosystem resources to support our population. Resource risks from climate-driven disturbances, including drought, heat, insect outbreaks, and wildfire, are growing as a chronic state of disequilibrium results from increasing temperatures and a greater frequency of extreme events. This confluence of increased demand and risk may soon reach critical thresholds. We explain here why extreme chronic disequilibrium of ecosystem function is likely to increase dramatically across the globe, creating no-analog conditions that challenge adaptation. We also present novel mechanistic theory that combines models for disturbance mortality and metabolic scaling to link size-dependent plant mortality to changes in ecosystem stocks and fluxes. Efforts must anticipate and model chronic ecosystem disequilibrium to properly prepare for resilience planning.

  • Using Biological Insight and Pragmatism When Thinking about Pseudoreplication
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-06
    Nick Colegrave, Graeme D. Ruxton

    Pseudoreplication is controversial across experimental biology. Researchers in the same field can disagree on whether a given study suffers from pseudoreplication and on to what extent any pseudoreplication undermines the value of a study. A recent survey indicated that concerns about pseudoreplication can strongly impact peer review of manuscripts submitted for publication. Here we explore controversies around pseudoreplication, identify issues requiring resolution, and in each case offer a resolution. We emphasise that having non-independence in data points and pseudoreplicating are not the same thing. Researchers should be able to demonstrate that in a given experiment they have minimised and controlled the risk of non-independence weakening their study. If they do that to the satisfaction of others, they have avoided pseudoreplication.

  • Meta-Ecosystems 2.0: Rooting the Theory into the Field
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-01
    Isabelle Gounand, Eric Harvey, Chelsea J. Little, Florian Altermatt

    The meta-ecosystem framework demonstrates the significance of among-ecosystem spatial flows for ecosystem dynamics and has fostered a rich body of theory. The high level of abstraction of the models, however, impedes applications to empirical systems. We argue that further understanding of spatial dynamics in natural systems strongly depends on dense exchanges between field and theory. From empiricists, more and specific quantifications of spatial flows are needed, defined by the major categories of organismal movement (dispersal, foraging, life-cycle, and migration). In parallel, the theoretical framework must account for the distinct spatial scales at which these naturally common spatial flows occur. Integrating all levels of spatial connections among landscape elements will upgrade and unify landscape and meta-ecosystem ecology into a single framework for spatial ecology.

  • Upward Adaptive Radiation Cascades: Predator Diversification Induced by Prey Diversification
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-30
    Jakob Brodersen, David M. Post, Ole Seehausen

    The value of biodiversity is widely appreciated, but we are only beginning to understand the interplay of processes that generate biodiversity and their consequences for coevolutionary interactions. Whereas predator–prey coevolution is most often analyzed in the context of evolutionary arms races, much less has been written about how predators are affected by, and respond to, evolutionary diversification in their prey. We hypothesize here that adaptive radiation of prey may lead to diversification and potentially speciation in predators, a process that we call an upwards adaptive radiation cascade. In this paper we lay out the conceptual basis for upwards adaptive radiation cascades, explore evidence for such cascades, and finally advocate for intensified research.

  • Genomic Quantitative Genetics to Study Evolution in the Wild
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-16
    Phillip Gienapp, Simone Fior, Frédéric Guillaume, Jesse R. Lasky, Victoria L. Sork, Katalin Csilléry

    Quantitative genetic theory provides a means of estimating the evolutionary potential of natural populations. However, this approach was previously only feasible in systems where the genetic relatedness between individuals could be inferred from pedigrees or experimental crosses. The genomic revolution opened up the possibility of obtaining the realized proportion of genome shared among individuals in natural populations of virtually any species, which could promise (more) accurate estimates of quantitative genetic parameters in virtually any species. Such a ‘genomic’ quantitative genetics approach relies on fewer assumptions, offers a greater methodological flexibility, and is thus expected to greatly enhance our understanding of evolution in natural populations, for example, in the context of adaptation to environmental change, eco-evolutionary dynamics, and biodiversity conservation.

  • The ‘Evo-Demo’ Implications of Condition-Dependent Mortality
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-09
    Victor Ronget, Michael Garratt, Jean-François Lemaître, Jean-Michel Gaillard

    Animals in the wild die from a variety of different mortality sources, including predation, disease, and starvation. Different mortality sources selectively remove individuals with different body condition in different ways, and this variation in the condition dependence of mortality has evolutionary and demographic implications. Subsequent population dynamics are influenced by the strength of condition-dependent mortality during specific periods, with population growth impacted in different ways in short- versus long-lived species. The evolution of lifespan is strongly influenced by condition-dependent mortality, with strikingly different outcomes expected in senescence rates when the relationship between condition and mortality is altered. A coupling of field and laboratory studies is now required to further reveal the evolutionary implications of condition-dependent mortality.

  • How Green is ‘Green’ Energy?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-23
    Luke Gibson, Elspeth N. Wilman, William F. Laurance

    Renewable energy is an important piece of the puzzle in meeting growing energy demands and mitigating climate change, but the potentially adverse effects of such technologies are often overlooked. Given that climate and ecology are inextricably linked, assessing the effects of energy technologies requires one to consider their full suite of global environmental concerns. We review here the ecological impacts of three major types of renewable energy – hydro, solar, and wind energy – and highlight some strategies for mitigating their negative effects. All three types can have significant environmental consequences in certain contexts. Wind power has the fewest and most easily mitigated impacts; solar energy is comparably benign if designed and managed carefully. Hydropower clearly has the greatest risks, particularly in certain ecological and geographical settings. More research is needed to assess the environmental impacts of these ‘green’ energy technologies, given that all are rapidly expanding globally.

  • Why Might Bacterial Pathogens Have Small Genomes?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-17
    Lucy A. Weinert, John J. Welch

    Bacteria that cause serious disease often have smaller genomes, and fewer genes, than their nonpathogenic, or less pathogenic relatives. Here, we review evidence for the generality of this association, and summarise the various reasons why the association might hold. We focus on the population genetic processes that might lead to reductive genome evolution, and show how several of these could be connected to pathogenicity. We find some evidence for most of the processes having acted in bacterial pathogens, including several different modes of genome reduction acting in the same lineage. We argue that predictable processes of genome evolution might not reflect any common underlying process.

  • Information Theory Broadens the Spectrum of Molecular Ecology and Evolution
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-07
    W.B. Sherwin, A. Chao, L. Jost, P.E. Smouse

    Information or entropy analysis of diversity is used extensively in community ecology, and has recently been exploited for prediction and analysis in molecular ecology and evolution. Information measures belong to a spectrum (or q profile) of measures whose contrasting properties provide a rich summary of diversity, including allelic richness (q = 0), Shannon information (q = 1), and heterozygosity (q = 2). We present the merits of information measures for describing and forecasting molecular variation within and among groups, comparing forecasts with data, and evaluating underlying processes such as dispersal. Importantly, information measures directly link causal processes and divergence outcomes, have straightforward relationship to allele frequency differences (including monotonicity that q = 2 lacks), and show additivity across hierarchical layers such as ecology, behaviour, cellular processes, and nongenetic inheritance.

  • Evolutionary Trade-Off between Secondary Sexual Traits and Ejaculates
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-16
    Leigh W. Simmons, Stefan Lüpold, John L. Fitzpatrick

    Recent theoretical models predict that the evolutionary diversification of the weapons and ornaments of pre-mating sexual selection should be influenced by trade-offs with male expenditure on ejaculates. However, the patterns of association between secondary sexual traits and ejaculate expenditure are frequently inconsistent in their support of this prediction. We show why consideration of additional life-history, ecological, and mating-system variables is crucial for the interpretation of associations between secondary sexual traits and ejaculate production. Incorporation of these ‘missing variables’ provides evidence that interactions between pre- and post-mating sexual selection can underlie broad patterns of diversification in male weapons and ornaments. We call for more experimental and genetic approaches to uncover trade-offs, as well as for studies that consider the costs of mate-searching.

  • Energy Flux: The Link between Multitrophic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-01-08
    Andrew D. Barnes, Malte Jochum, Jonathan S. Lefcheck, Nico Eisenhauer, Christoph Scherber, Mary I. O’Connor, Peter de Ruiter, Ulrich Brose

    Relating biodiversity to ecosystem functioning in natural communities has become a paramount challenge as links between trophic complexity and multiple ecosystem functions become increasingly apparent. Yet, there is still no generalised approach to address such complexity in biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) studies. Energy flux dynamics in ecological networks provide the theoretical underpinning of multitrophic BEF relationships. Accordingly, we propose the quantification of energy fluxes in food webs as a powerful, universal tool for understanding ecosystem functioning in multitrophic systems spanning different ecological scales. Although the concept of energy flux in food webs is not novel, its application to BEF research remains virtually untapped, providing a framework to foster new discoveries into the determinants of ecosystem functioning in complex systems.

  • Breaking Barriers: Causes, Consequences, and Experimental Utility of Human-Mediated Hybridization
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2018-01-03
    Kathryn C. Grabenstein, Scott A. Taylor

    Hybridization between naturally co-occurring species that normally do not interbreed is being documented following anthropogenic habitat modifications for an increasing number of taxa. Here, we evaluate the mechanisms by which disturbance promotes hybridization and highlight the utility of human-caused hybridization for understanding evolution. Monitoring hybridization dynamics before, and following, disturbance over multiple timescales offers a unique opportunity to understand how disturbances alter species interactions and to pinpoint the mechanisms that cause species barriers to fail. Identifying the conditions promoting hybridization in disturbed habitats, the generality of these conditions across taxa, and the taxa most affected by human-mediated change is critical for furthering our understanding of human impacts on evolution and for informing management.

  • The Role of Seasonal Migration in Population Divergence and Reproductive Isolation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-12-27
    Sheela P. Turbek, Elizabeth S.C. Scordato, Rebecca J. Safran

    Seasonal journeys between breeding and non-breeding habitat are undertaken by a diverse array of animals. Parallel developments in tracking and genomic methods are enabling finer resolution of these movements and their role in the evolutionary process. Evidence from allopatric and co-occurring breeding populations indicates that variation in migratory behavior is often associated with genetic differentiation. While assortative mating and selection against hybrids due to divergent migratory phenotypes can contribute to reproductive isolation, the details of these mechanisms remain unclear. Here we identify gaps in our understanding of the role of seasonal migration in the speciation process and propose a framework to test the relative significance of reproductive barriers associated with variation in migratory behavior that might underlie population differentiation.

  • Quantifying Temporal Genomic Erosion in Endangered Species
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-12-27
    David Díez-del-Molino, Fatima Sánchez-Barreiro, Ian Barnes, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Love Dalén

    Many species have undergone dramatic population size declines over the past centuries. Although stochastic genetic processes during and after such declines are thought to elevate the risk of extinction, comparative analyses of genomic data from several endangered species suggest little concordance between genome-wide diversity and current population sizes. This is likely because species-specific life-history traits and ancient bottlenecks overshadow the genetic effect of recent demographic declines. Therefore, we advocate that temporal sampling of genomic data provides a more accurate approach to quantify genetic threats in endangered species. Specifically, genomic data from predecline museum specimens will provide valuable baseline data that enable accurate estimation of recent decreases in genome-wide diversity, increases in inbreeding levels, and accumulation of deleterious genetic variation.

  • Global Carbon Cycling on a Heterogeneous Seafloor
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-12-14
    Paul V.R. Snelgrove, Karline Soetaert, Martin Solan, Simon Thrush, Chih-Lin Wei, Roberto Danovaro, Robinson W. Fulweiler, Hiroshi Kitazato, Baban Ingole, Alf Norkko, R. John Parkes, Nils Volkenborn

    Diverse biological communities mediate the transformation, transport, and storage of elements fundamental to life on Earth, including carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. However, global biogeochemical model outcomes can vary by orders of magnitude, compromising capacity to project realistic ecosystem responses to planetary changes, including ocean productivity and climate. Here, we compare global carbon turnover rates estimated using models grounded in biological versus geochemical theory and argue that the turnover estimates based on each perspective yield divergent outcomes. Importantly, empirical studies that include sedimentary biological activity vary less than those that ignore it. Improving the relevance of model projections and reducing uncertainty associated with the anticipated consequences of global change requires reconciliation of these perspectives, enabling better societal decisions on mitigation and adaptation.

  • Finding Evolutionary Processes Hidden in Cryptic Species
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-12-11
    Torsten H. Struck, Jeffrey L. Feder, Mika Bendiksby, Siri Birkeland, José Cerca, Vladimir I. Gusarov, Sonja Kistenich, Karl-Henrik Larsson, Lee Hsiang Liow, Michael D. Nowak, Brita Stedje, Lutz Bachmann, Dimitar Dimitrov

    Cryptic species could represent a substantial fraction of biodiversity. However, inconsistent definitions and taxonomic treatment of cryptic species prevent informed estimates of their contribution to biodiversity and impede our understanding of their evolutionary and ecological significance. We propose a conceptual framework that recognizes cryptic species based on their low levels of phenotypic (morphological) disparity relative to their degree of genetic differentiation and divergence times as compared with non-cryptic species. We discuss how application of a more rigorous definition of cryptic species in taxonomic practice will lead to more accurate estimates of their prevalence in nature, better understanding of their distribution patterns on the tree of life, and increased abilities to resolve the processes underlying their evolution.

  • Plant–Soil Feedback: Bridging Natural and Agricultural Sciences
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-12-11
    Pierre Mariotte, Zia Mehrabi, T. Martijn Bezemer, Gerlinde B. De Deyn, Andrew Kulmatiski, Barbara Drigo, G.F. (Ciska) Veen, Marcel G.A. van der Heijden, Paul Kardol

    In agricultural and natural systems researchers have demonstrated large effects of plant–soil feedback (PSF) on plant growth. However, the concepts and approaches used in these two types of systems have developed, for the most part, independently. Here, we present a conceptual framework that integrates knowledge and approaches from these two contrasting systems. We use this integrated framework to demonstrate (i) how knowledge from complex natural systems can be used to increase agricultural resource-use efficiency and productivity and (ii) how research in agricultural systems can be used to test hypotheses and approaches developed in natural systems. Using this framework, we discuss avenues for new research toward an ecologically sustainable and climate-smart future.

  • A 2018 Horizon Scan of Emerging Issues for Global Conservation and Biological Diversity
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-12-04
    William J. Sutherland, Stuart H.M. Butchart, Ben Connor, Caroline Culshaw, Lynn V. Dicks, Jason Dinsdale, Helen Doran, Abigail C. Entwistle, Erica Fleishman, David W. Gibbons, Zhigang Jiang, Brandon Keim, Xavier Le Roux, Fiona A. Lickorish, Paul Markillie, Kathryn A. Monk, Diana Mortimer, James W. Pearce-Higgins, Lloyd S. Peck, Jules Pretty, Colleen L. Seymour, Mark D. Spalding, Femke H. Tonneijck, Rosalind A. Gleave

    This is our ninth annual horizon scan to identify emerging issues that we believe could affect global biological diversity, natural capital and ecosystem services, and conservation efforts. Our diverse and international team, with expertise in horizon scanning, science communication, as well as conservation science, practice, and policy, reviewed 117 potential issues. We identified the 15 that may have the greatest positive or negative effects but are not yet well recognised by the global conservation community. Themes among these topics include new mechanisms driving the emergence and geographic expansion of diseases, innovative biotechnologies, reassessments of global change, and the development of strategic infrastructure to facilitate global economic priorities.

  • Sympatric Speciation in the Genomic Era
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-30
    Andrew D. Foote

    Sympatric speciation has been of key interest to biologists investigating how natural and sexual selection drive speciation without the confounding variable of geographic isolation. The advent of the genomic era has provided a more nuanced and quantitative understanding of the different and often complex modes of speciation by which sympatric sister taxa arose, and a reassessment of some of the most compelling empirical case studies of sympatric speciation. However, I argue that genomic studies based on contemporary populations may never be able to provide unequivocal evidence of true primary sympatric speciation, and there is a need to incorporate palaeogenomic studies into this field. This inability to robustly distinguish cases of primary and secondary ‘divergence with gene flow’ may be inconsequential, as both are useful for understanding the role of large effect barrier loci in the progression from localised genic isolation to genome-wide reproductive isolation. I argue that they can be of equivalent interest due to shared underlying mechanisms driving divergence and potentially leaving similar patterns of coalescence.

  • Evolution of Visual Processing in the Human Retina
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-19
    Trevor D. Price, Rebia Khan

    Motion detection in humans is based on luminance differences, now shown likely to be processed by a specialized set of cone cells, separate from the cone cells that process color. Humans appear to have evolved a mechanism analogous to that proposed for the double cones of other vertebrates, lost as vision simplified in our nocturnal ancestors.

  • Transformative Research Is Not Easily Predicted
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-15
    Sarah A. Gravem, Silke M. Bachhuber, Heather K. Fulton-Bennett, Zachary H. Randell, Alissa J. Rickborn, Jenna M. Sullivan, Bruce A. Menge

    Transformative research (TR) statements in scientific grant proposals have become mainstream. However, TR is defined as radically changing our understanding of a concept, causing a paradigm shift, or opening new frontiers. We argue that it is rarely possible to predict the transformative nature of research. Interviews and surveys of 78 transformative ecologists suggest that most TR began with incremental goals, while transformative potential was recognized later. Most respondents thought TR is unpredictable and should not be prioritized over ‘incremental’ research that typically leads to breakthroughs. Importantly, TR directives might encourage scientists to overstate the importance of their research. We recommend that granting agencies (i) allocate only a subset of funds to TR and (ii) solicit more realistic proposal statements.

  • Process, Mechanism, and Modeling in Macroecology
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-14
    Sean R. Connolly, Sally A. Keith, Robert K. Colwell, Carsten Rahbek

    Macroecology has traditionally relied on descriptive characterization of large-scale ecological patterns to offer narrative explanations for the origin and maintenance of those patterns. Only recently have macroecologists begun to employ models termed ‘process-based’ and ‘mechanistic’, in contrast to other areas of ecology, where such models have a longer history. Here, we define and differentiate between process-based and mechanistic features of models, and we identify and discuss important advantages of working with models possessing such features. We describe some of the risks associated with process-based and mechanistic model-centered research programs, and we propose ways to mitigate these risks. Giving process-based and mechanistic models a more central role in research programs can reinvigorate macroecology by strengthening the link between theory and data.

  • Understanding the Processes Underpinning Patterns of Phylogenetic Regionalization
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-14
    Barnabas H. Daru, Tammy L. Elliott, Daniel S. Park, T. Jonathan Davies

    A key step in understanding the distribution of biodiversity is the grouping of regions based on their shared elements. Historically, regionalization schemes have been largely species centric. Recently, there has been interest in incorporating phylogenetic information into regionalization schemes. Phylogenetic regionalization can provide novel insights into the mechanisms that generate, distribute, and maintain biodiversity. We argue that four processes (dispersal limitation, extinction, speciation, and niche conservatism) underlie the formation of species assemblages into phylogenetically distinct biogeographic units. We outline how it can be possible to distinguish among these processes, and identify centers of evolutionary radiation, museums of diversity, and extinction hotspots. We suggest that phylogenetic regionalization provides a rigorous and objective classification of regional diversity and enhances our knowledge of biodiversity patterns.

  • Deconstructing Superorganisms and Societies to Address Big Questions in Biology
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-09
    Patrick Kennedy, Gemma Baron, Bitao Qiu, Dalial Freitak, Heikki Helanterä, Edmund R. Hunt, Fabio Manfredini, Thomas O’Shea-Wheller, Solenn Patalano, Christopher D. Pull, Takao Sasaki, Daisy Taylor, Christopher D.R. Wyatt, Seirian Sumner

    Social insect societies are long-standing models for understanding social behaviour and evolution. Unlike other advanced biological societies (such as the multicellular body), the component parts of social insect societies can be easily deconstructed and manipulated. Recent methodological and theoretical innovations have exploited this trait to address an expanded range of biological questions. We illustrate the broadening range of biological insight coming from social insect biology with four examples. These new frontiers promote open-minded, interdisciplinary exploration of one of the richest and most complex of biological phenomena: sociality.

  • The Nebulous Ecology of Native Invasions
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-07
    Lloyd L. Nackley, Adam G. West, Andrew L. Skowno, William J. Bond

    In the Anthropocene, alien species are no longer the only category of biological organism establishing and rapidly spreading beyond historical boundaries. We review evidence showing that invasions by native species are a global phenomenon and present case studies from Southern Africa, and elsewhere, that reveal how climate-mediated expansions of native plants into adjacent communities can emulate the functional and structural changes associated with invasions by alien plant species. We conclude that integrating native invasions into ecological practice and theory will improve mechanistic models and better inform policy and adaptive ecological management in the 21st century.

  • Is Reintroduction Biology an Effective Applied Science?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-07
    Gemma Taylor, Stefano Canessa, Rohan H. Clarke, Dean Ingwersen, Doug P. Armstrong, Philip J. Seddon, John G. Ewen

    Reintroduction biology is a field of scientific research that aims to inform translocations of endangered species. We review two decades of published literature to evaluate whether reintroduction science is evolving in its decision-support role, as called for by advocates of evidence-based conservation. Reintroduction research increasingly addresses a priori hypotheses, but remains largely focused on short-term population establishment. Similarly, studies that directly assist decisions by explicitly comparing alternative management actions remain a minority. A small set of case studies demonstrate full integration of research in the reintroduction decision process. We encourage the use of tools that embed research in decision-making, particularly the explicit consideration of multiple management alternatives because this is the crux of any management decisions.

  • Climates Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come Shape Climate Change Vulnerabilities
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-24
    Christopher P. Nadeau, Mark C. Urban, Jon R. Bridle

    Climate change is altering life at multiple scales, from genes to ecosystems. Predicting the vulnerability of populations to climate change is crucial to mitigate negative impacts. We suggest that regional patterns of spatial and temporal climatic variation scaled to the traits of an organism can predict where and why populations are most vulnerable to climate change. Specifically, historical climatic variation affects the sensitivity and response capacity of populations to climate change by shaping traits and the genetic variation in those traits. Present and future climatic variation can affect both climate change exposure and population responses. We provide seven predictions for how climatic variation might affect the vulnerability of populations to climate change and suggest key directions for future research.

  • Individual Confidence-Weighting and Group Decision-Making
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-21
    James A.R. Marshall, Gavin Brown, Andrew N. Radford

    Group-living species frequently pool individual information so as to reach consensus decisions such as when and where to move, or whether a predator is present. Such opinion-pooling has been demonstrated empirically, and theoretical models have been proposed to explain why group decisions are more reliable than individual decisions. Behavioural ecology theory frequently assumes that all individuals have equal decision-making abilities, but decision theory relaxes this assumption and has been tested in human groups. We summarise relevant theory and argue for its applicability to collective animal decisions. We consider selective pressure on confidence-weighting in groups of related and unrelated individuals. We also consider which species and behaviours may provide evidence of confidence-weighting, paying particular attention to the sophisticated vocal communication of cooperative breeders.

  • Sexual Conflict, Facultative Asexuality, and the True Paradox of Sex
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-23
    Nathan W. Burke, Russell Bonduriansky

    Theory suggests that occasional or conditional sex involving facultative switching between sexual and asexual reproduction is the optimal reproductive strategy. Therefore, the true ‘paradox of sex’ is the prevalence of obligate sex. This points to the existence of powerful, general impediments to the invasion of obligately sexual populations by facultative mutants, and recent studies raise the intriguing possibility that a key impediment could be sexual conflict. Using Bateman gradients we show that facultative asexuality can amplify sexual conflict over mating, generating strong selection for both female resistance and male coercion. We hypothesize that invasions are most likely to succeed when mutants have negative Bateman gradients, can avoid mating, and achieve high fecundity through asexual reproduction – a combination unlikely to occur in natural populations.

  • Do Performance–Safety Tradeoffs Cause Hypometric Metabolic Scaling in Animals?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-28
    Jon F. Harrison

    Hypometric scaling of aerobic metabolism in animals has been widely attributed to constraints on oxygen (O2) supply in larger animals, but recent findings demonstrate that O2 supply balances with need regardless of size. Larger animals also do not exhibit evidence of compensation for O2 supply limitation. Because declining metabolic rates (MRs) are tightly linked to fitness, this provides significant evidence against the hypothesis that constraints on supply drive hypometric scaling. As an alternative, ATP demand might decline in larger animals because of performance–safety tradeoffs. Larger animals, which typically reproduce later, exhibit risk-reducing strategies that lower MR. Conversely, smaller animals are more strongly selected for growth and costly neurolocomotory performance, elevating metabolism.

  • Harnessing the Power of Genomics to Secure the Future of Seafood
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-14
    Louis Bernatchez, Maren Wellenreuther, Cristián Araneda, David T. Ashton, Julia M.I. Barth, Terry D. Beacham, Gregory E. Maes, Jann T. Martinsohn, Kristina M. Miller, Kerry A. Naish, Jennifer R. Ovenden, Craig R. Primmer, Ho Young Suk, Nina O. Therkildsen, Ruth E. Withler

    Best use of scientific knowledge is required to maintain the fundamental role of seafood in human nutrition. While it is acknowledged that genomic-based methods allow the collection of powerful data, their value to inform fisheries management, aquaculture, and biosecurity applications remains underestimated. We review genomic applications of relevance to the sustainable management of seafood resources, illustrate the benefits of, and identify barriers to their integration. We conclude that the value of genomic information towards securing the future of seafood does not need to be further demonstrated. Instead, we need immediate efforts to remove structural roadblocks and focus on ways that support integration of genomic-informed methods into management and production practices. We propose solutions to pave the way forward.

  • Infectious Agents Trigger Trophic Cascades
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-20
    Julia C. Buck, William J. Ripple

    Most demonstrated trophic cascades originate with predators, but infectious agents can also cause top-down indirect effects in ecosystems. Here we synthesize the literature on trophic cascades initiated by infectious agents including parasitoids, pathogens, parasitic castrators, macroparasites, and trophically transmitted parasites. Like predators, infectious agents can cause density-mediated and trait-mediated indirect effects through their direct consumptive and nonconsumptive effects respectively. Unlike most predators, however, infectious agents are not fully and immediately lethal to their victims, so their consumptive effects can also trigger trait-mediated indirect effects. We find that the frequency of trophic cascades reported for different consumer types scales with consumer lethality. Furthermore, we emphasize the value of uniting predator–prey and parasite–host theory under a general consumer–resource framework.

  • Unifying Research on Social–Ecological Resilience and Collapse
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-19
    Graeme S. Cumming, Garry D. Peterson

    Ecosystems influence human societies, leading people to manage ecosystems for human benefit. Poor environmental management can lead to reduced ecological resilience and social–ecological collapse. We review research on resilience and collapse across different systems and propose a unifying social–ecological framework based on (i) a clear definition of system identity; (ii) the use of quantitative thresholds to define collapse; (iii) relating collapse processes to system structure; and (iv) explicit comparison of alternative hypotheses and models of collapse. Analysis of 17 representative cases identified 14 mechanisms, in five classes, that explain social–ecological collapse. System structure influences the kind of collapse a system may experience. Mechanistic theories of collapse that unite structure and process can make fundamental contributions to solving global environmental problems.

  • Symbiotic Dinoflagellate Functional Diversity Mediates Coral Survival under Ecological Crisis
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-23
    David J. Suggett, Mark E. Warner, William Leggat

    Coral reefs have entered an era of ‘ecological crisis’ as climate change drives catastrophic reef loss worldwide. Coral growth and stress susceptibility are regulated by their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium). The phylogenetic diversity of Symbiodinium frequently corresponds to patterns of coral health and survival, but knowledge of functional diversity is ultimately necessary to reconcile broader ecological success over space and time. We explore here functional traits underpinning the complex biology of Symbiodinium that spans free-living algae to coral endosymbionts. In doing so we propose a mechanistic framework integrating the primary traits of resource acquisition and utilisation as a means to explain Symbiodinium functional diversity and to resolve the role of Symbiodinium in driving the stability of coral reefs under an uncertain future.

  • Cognition in Contests: Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-17
    Michael S. Reichert, John L. Quinn

    Animal contests govern access to key resources and are a fundamental determinant of fitness within populations. Little is known about the mechanisms generating individual variation in strategic contest behavior or what this variation means for population level processes. Cognition governs the expression of behaviors during contests, most notably by linking experience gained with decision making, but its role in driving the evolutionary ecological dynamics of contests is only beginning to emerge. We review the kinds of cognitive mechanisms that underlie contest behavior, emphasize the importance of feedback loops and socio-ecological context, and suggest that contest behavior provides an ideal focus for integrative studies of phenotypic variation.

  • Which Latitudinal Gradients for Genetic Diversity?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-11
    Paolo Gratton, Silvio Marta, Gaëlle Bocksberger, Marten Winter, Petr Keil, Emiliano Trucchi, Hjalmar Kühl

    A recent global analysis of GenBank DNA sequences from amphibians and mammals indicated consistent poleward decrease of intraspecific genetic diversity in both classes. We highlight that this result was biased by not accounting for distance decay of similarity and reanalyse the datasets, revealing distinct latitudinal gradients in mammals and amphibians.

  • Conservation Evo-Devo: Preserving Biodiversity by Understanding Its Origins
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-07
    Calum S. Campbell, Colin E.​ Adams, Colin W. Bean, Kevin J. Parsons

    Unprecedented rates of species extinction increase the urgency for effective conservation biology management practices. Thus, any improvements in practice are vital and we suggest that conservation can be enhanced through recent advances in evolutionary biology, specifically advances put forward by evolutionary developmental biology (i.e., evo-devo). There are strong overlapping conceptual links between conservation and evo-devo whereby both fields focus on evolutionary potential. In particular, benefits to conservation can be derived from some of the main areas of evo-devo research, namely phenotypic plasticity, modularity and integration, and mechanistic investigations of the precise developmental and genetic processes that determine phenotypes. Using examples we outline how evo-devo can expand into conservation biology, an opportunity which holds great promise for advancing both fields.

  • Causes and Consequences of Behavioral Interference between Species
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-07
    Gregory F. Grether, Kathryn S. Peiman, Joseph A. Tobias, Beren W. Robinson

    Behavioral interference between species, such as territorial aggression, courtship, and mating, is widespread in animals. While aggressive and reproductive forms of interspecific interference have generally been studied separately, their many parallels and connections warrant a unified conceptual approach. Substantial evidence exists that aggressive and reproductive interference have pervasive effects on species coexistence, range limits, and evolutionary processes, including divergent and convergent forms of character displacement. Alien species invasions and climate change-induced range shifts result in novel interspecific interactions, heightening the importance of predicting the consequences of species interactions, and behavioral interference is a fundamental but neglected part of the equation. Here, we outline priorities for further theoretical and empirical research on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of behavioral interference.

  • Reshaping Darwin’s Tree: Impact of the Symbiome
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-09
    Erin A. Tripp, Ning Zhang, Harald Schneider, Ying Huang, Gregory M. Mueller, Zhihong Hu, Max Häggblom, Debashish Bhattacharya

    Much of the undescribed biodiversity on Earth is microbial, often in mutualistic or pathogenic associations. Physically associated and coevolving life forms comprise a symbiome. We propose that systematics research can accelerate progress in science by introducing a new framework for phylogenetic analysis of symbiomes, here termed SYMPHY (symbiome phylogenetics).

  • Biodiversity Models: What If Unsaturation Is the Rule?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-10
    Rubén G. Mateo, Karel Mokany, Antoine Guisan

    Improving biodiversity predictions is essential if we are to meet the challenges posed by global change. As knowledge is key to feed models, we need to evaluate how debated theory can affect models. An important ongoing debate is whether environmental constraints limit the number of species that can coexist in a community (saturation), with recent findings suggesting that species richness in many communities might be unsaturated. Here, we propose that biodiversity models could address this issue by accounting for a duality: considering communities as unsaturated but where species composition is constrained by different scale-dependent biodiversity drivers. We identify a variety of promising advances for incorporating this duality into commonly applied biodiversity modelling approaches and improving their spatial predictions.

  • Animal Social Network Theory Can Help Wildlife Conservation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-22
    Lysanne Snijders, Daniel T. Blumstein, Christina R. Stanley, Daniel W. Franks

    Many animals preferentially associate with certain other individuals. This social structuring can influence how populations respond to changes to their environment, thus making network analysis a promising technique for understanding, predicting, and potentially manipulating population dynamics. Various network statistics can correlate with individual fitness components and key population-level processes, yet the logical role and formal application of animal social network theory for conservation and management have not been well articulated. We outline how understanding of direct and indirect relationships between animals can be profitably applied by wildlife managers and conservationists. By doing so, we aim to stimulate the development and implementation of practical tools for wildlife conservation and management and to inspire novel behavioral research in this field.

  • Equipping the 22nd-Century Historical Ecologist
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-20
    Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett, W. Chris Funk, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Torben C. Rick

    Historical ecology provides information needed to understand contemporary conditions and make science-based resource management decisions. Gaps in historical records, however, can limit inquiries and inference. Unfortunately, the patchiness of data that poses challenges for today’s historical ecologist may be similarly problematic for those in the future seeking to understand what are currently present-day conditions and trends, in part because of societal underinvestment in systematic collection and curation. We therefore highlight the generational imperative that contemporary scientists and managers individually have – especially in this era of tremendous global change – to ensure sufficient documentation of the past and current conditions of the places and resources to which they have access.

  • Why Sex? A Pluralist Approach Revisited
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-09
    Maurine Neiman, Curtis M. Lively, Stephanie Meirmans

    Why sexual reproduction predominates in nature remains a mystery. The mystery stems in part from the fact that many of the plausible hypotheses for sex have restrictive assumptions. Two decades ago these limitations inspired the formulation of a ‘pluralist’ approach in which standalone hypotheses for sex were considered together. Here we review representative literature to address whether this strategy has deepened our understanding of sex. We found surprisingly few papers adopting such an approach, probably reflecting challenges associated with testing multiple mechanisms. Nevertheless, these studies provided new insights, highlighting in particular the potential importance of interaction between parasites and harmful mutations. We conclude with strategies for moving forward, including broader formulations of pluralism and the application of more qualitative types of testing.

  • Adaptive Genetic Exchange: A Tangled History of Admixture and Evolutionary Innovation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-20
    Michael L. Arnold, Krushnamegh Kunte

    Genetic exchange between divergent evolutionary lineages, from introgressive hybridization between locally adapted populations to insertion of retroviral sequences into eukaryotic genomes, has now been documented. The detection of frequent divergence-with-gene-flow contrasts the neo-Darwinian paradigm of largely allopatric diversification. Nevertheless, of even greater significance is the growing wealth of data suggesting that the recipients of the transferred genomic material gain adaptive phenotypes from the donor lineages. This adaptive enrichment is reflected by changes in pathogenicity in viruses and bacteria, the transformation of ecological amplitude in eukaryotes, and adaptive radiations in extremely diverse lineages. Although genetic exchange may produce maladaptive consequences, most of the recently reported examples suggest increases in fitness, and many such adaptive trait transfers have been identified in our own species.

  • The Evolutionary Consequences of Stepwise Infection Processes
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-22
    Matthew D. Hall, Gilberto Bento, Dieter Ebert

    Molecular and cellular studies reveal that the resistance of hosts to parasites and pathogens is a cascade-like process with multiple steps required to be passed for successful infection. By contrast, much of evolutionary reasoning is based on strongly simplified, one- or two-step infection processes with simple genetics or on resistance being a quantitative trait. Here we attempt a conceptual unification of these two perspectives with the aim of cross-fostering research and filling some of the gaps in our concepts of the ecology and evolution of disease. This conceptual unification has a profound impact on the way we understand the genetics and evolution of host resistance, ecological immunity, evolution of virulence, defence portfolios, and host–pathogen coevolution.

Some contents have been Reproduced with permission of the American Chemical Society.
Some contents have been Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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