The authors show that global patterns of biodiversity fall into four consistent categories, according to where species live: on land or in coastal, pelagic, and deep ocean habitats. The fact that most species groups, from bacteria to whales, appear to follow similar biogeographic patterns of richness within these habitats points toward some underlying structuring principles. Based on empirical analyses of environmental correlates across these habitats, the authors combine aspects of neutral, metabolic, and niche theory into one unifying framework. Applying it to model terrestrial and marine realms, the authors demonstrate that a relatively simple theory that incorporates temperature and community size as driving variables is able to explain divergent patterns of species richness at a global scale.
Integrating ecological and evolutionary perspectives, A Theory of Global Biodiversity yields surprising insights into the fundamental mechanisms that shape the distribution of life on our planet.
The articles are up-to-date and fully illustrated with in-text references that allow readers to easily access primary literature. While all entries are authoritative and valuable to those with advanced understanding of evolutionary biology, they are also intended to be accessible to both advanced undergraduate and graduate students.
Broad topics include the history of evolutionary biology, population genetics, quantitative genetics; speciation, life history evolution, evolution of sex and mating systems, evolutionary biogeography, evolutionary developmental biology, molecular and genome evolution, coevolution, phylogenetic methods, microbial evolution, diversification of plants and fungi, diversification of animals, and applied evolution.Presents fully comprehensive content, allowing easy access to fundamental information and links to primary researchContains concise articles by leading experts in the field that ensures current coverage of each topicProvides ancillary learning tools like tables, illustrations, and multimedia features to assist with the comprehension process
Michael Doebeli investigates adaptive diversification using the mathematical framework of adaptive dynamics. Evolutionary branching is a paradigmatic feature of adaptive dynamics that serves as a basic metaphor for adaptive diversification, and Doebeli explores the scope of evolutionary branching in many different ecological scenarios, including models of coevolution, cooperation, and cultural evolution. He also uses alternative modeling approaches. Stochastic, individual-based models are particularly useful for studying adaptive speciation in sexual populations, and partial differential equation models confirm the pervasiveness of adaptive diversification.
Showing that frequency-dependent interactions are an important driver of biological diversity, Adaptive Diversification provides a comprehensive theoretical treatment of adaptive diversification.
Post uses insights from phenology—the study of the timing of life-cycle events—to present a theoretical framework of time in ecology that casts long-standing observations in the field in an entirely new light. Combining conceptual models with field data, he demonstrates how phenological advances, delays, and stasis, documented in an array of taxa, can all be viewed as adaptive components of an organism’s strategic use of time. Post shows how the allocation of time by individual organisms to critical life history stages is not only a response to environmental cues but also an important driver of interactions at the population, species, and community levels.
To demonstrate the applications of this exciting new conceptual framework, Time in Ecology uses meta-analyses of previous studies as well as Post’s original data on the phenological dynamics of plants, caribou, and muskoxen in Greenland.
Fitness Landscapes and the Origin of Species presents both an overview of the forty years of previous theoretical research and the author's new results. Sergey Gavrilets uses a unified framework based on the notion of fitness landscapes introduced by Sewall Wright in 1932, generalizing this notion to explore the consequences of the huge dimensionality of fitness landscapes that correspond to biological systems.
In contrast to previous theoretical work, which was based largely on numerical simulations, Gavrilets develops simple mathematical models that allow for analytical investigation and clear interpretation in biological terms. Covering controversial topics, including sympatric speciation and the effects of sexual conflict on speciation, this book builds for the first time a general, quantitative theory for the origin of species.
Mark Vellend builds a theory of ecological communities based on four overarching processes: selection among species, drift, dispersal, and speciation. These are analogues of the four central processes in population genetics theory—selection within species, drift, gene flow, and mutation—and together they subsume almost all of the many dozens of more specific models built to describe the dynamics of communities of interacting species. The result is a theory that allows the effects of many low-level processes, such as competition, facilitation, predation, disturbance, stress, succession, colonization, and local extinction to be understood as the underpinnings of high-level processes with widely applicable consequences for ecological communities.
Reframing the numerous existing ideas in community ecology, The Theory of Ecological Communities provides a new way for thinking about biological composition and diversity.