Adaptive Diversification (MPB-48)

Princeton University Press
Free sample

Understanding the mechanisms driving biological diversity remains a central problem in ecology and evolutionary biology. Traditional explanations assume that differences in selection pressures lead to different adaptations in geographically separated locations. This book takes a different approach and explores adaptive diversification--diversification rooted in ecological interactions and frequency-dependent selection. In any ecosystem, birth and death rates of individuals are affected by interactions with other individuals. What is an advantageous phenotype therefore depends on the phenotype of other individuals, and it may often be best to be ecologically different from the majority phenotype. Such rare-type advantage is a hallmark of frequency-dependent selection and opens the scope for processes of diversification that require ecological contact rather than geographical isolation.

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.

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About the author

Michael Doebeli is a professor in the departments of zoology and mathematics at the University of British Columbia.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 1, 2011
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9781400838936
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Life Sciences / Biological Diversity
Science / Life Sciences / Ecology
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In an age of increasing environmental problems, ecology has had to grow up fast from a discipline dealing with relatively simple interactions between species to one that tries to explain changes in global patterns of diversity and richness. The issues are complex. Every species may seem to have its own unique role, but if that is true, then why are there hundreds of species of plankton in an ecosystem with only a handful of niches? The tropics have a high biodiversity, but does anybody know why? And how can a single introduced tree species wreak havoc in Hawaii’s rainforests, when it is one of thousands of quietly coexisting tree species in its native continent, South America?
The strength of this book is that it will help digest some of these more complex issues in the ecology of biodiversity. It will do this by zooming out from the local scale to the global scale in a number of steps, marrying community ecology with macroecology, and introducing unexpected nuggets of natural history along the way. The reader will notice that, the larger the scale, the more the familiar niche-concept appears to be overshadowed by exotic fields from fractal and complexity theory. However, scientists differ in opinion on the scale at which niches become irrelevant. These differences of opinion, but also the search for unified ecological theories, will form another force by which the story will be carried along to its conclusion. A conclusion which, surprisingly, seeks to find a glimpse of the globe's future in the traces from its past.
The number of species found at a given point on the planet varies by orders of magnitude, yet large-scale gradients in biodiversity appear to follow some very general patterns. Little mechanistic theory has been formulated to explain the emergence of observed gradients of biodiversity both on land and in the oceans. Based on a comprehensive empirical synthesis of global patterns of species diversity and their drivers, A Theory of Global Biodiversity develops and applies a new theory that can predict such patterns from few underlying processes.

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.

Human impacts are dramatically altering our natural ecosystems but the exact repercussions on ecological sustainability and function remain unclear. As a result, food web theory has experienced a proliferation of research seeking to address these critical areas. Arguing that the various recent and classical food web theories can be looked at collectively and in a highly consistent and testable way, Food Webs synthesizes and reconciles modern and classical perspectives into a general unified theory.

Kevin McCann brings together outcomes from population-, community-, and ecosystem-level approaches under the common currency of energy or material fluxes. He shows that these approaches--often studied in isolation--all have the same general implications in terms of population dynamic stability. Specifically, increased fluxes of energy or material tend to destabilize populations, communities, and whole ecosystems. With this understanding, stabilizing structures at different levels of the ecological hierarchy can be identified and any population-, community-, or ecosystem-level structures that mute energy or material flow also stabilize systems dynamics. McCann uses this powerful general framework to discuss the effects of human impact on the stability and sustainability of ecological systems, and he demonstrates that there is clear empirical evidence that the structures supporting ecological systems have been dangerously eroded.


Uniting the latest research on food webs with classical theories, this book will be a standard source in the understanding of natural food web functions.

Quantitative approaches to evolutionary biology traditionally consider evolutionary change in isolation from an important pressure in natural selection: the demography of coevolving populations. In Analysis of Evolutionary Processes, Fabio Dercole and Sergio Rinaldi have written the first comprehensive book on Adaptive Dynamics (AD), a quantitative modeling approach that explicitly links evolutionary changes to demographic ones. The book shows how the so-called AD canonical equation can answer questions of paramount interest in biology, engineering, and the social sciences, especially economics.

After introducing the basics of evolutionary processes and classifying available modeling approaches, Dercole and Rinaldi give a detailed presentation of the derivation of the AD canonical equation, an ordinary differential equation that focuses on evolutionary processes driven by rare and small innovations. The authors then look at important features of evolutionary dynamics as viewed through the lens of AD. They present their discovery of the first chaotic evolutionary attractor, which calls into question the common view that coevolution produces exquisitely harmonious adaptations between species. And, opening up potential new lines of research by providing the first application of AD to economics, they show how AD can explain the emergence of technological variety.



Analysis of Evolutionary Processes will interest anyone looking for a self-contained treatment of AD for self-study or teaching, including graduate students and researchers in mathematical and theoretical biology, applied mathematics, and theoretical economics.

Most organisms show substantial changes in size or morphology after they become independent of their parents and have to find their own food. Furthermore, the rate at which these changes occur generally depends on the amount of food they ingest. In this book, André de Roos and Lennart Persson advance a synthetic and individual-based theory of the effects of this plastic ontogenetic development on the dynamics of populations and communities.

De Roos and Persson show how the effects of ontogenetic development on ecological dynamics critically depend on the efficiency with which differently sized individuals convert food into new biomass. Differences in this efficiency--or ontogenetic asymmetry--lead to bottlenecks in and thus population regulation by either maturation or reproduction. De Roos and Persson investigate the community consequences of these bottlenecks for trophic configurations that vary in the number and type of interacting species and in the degree of ontogenetic niche shifts exhibited by their individuals. They also demonstrate how insights into the effects of maturation and reproduction limitation on community equilibrium carry over to the dynamics of size-structured populations and give rise to different types of cohort-driven cycles.


Featuring numerous examples and tests of modeling predictions, this book provides a pioneering and extensive theoretical and empirical treatment of the ecology of ontogenetic growth and development in organisms, emphasizing the importance of an individual-based perspective for understanding population and community dynamics.

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