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The Adaptive Landscape in Evolutionary Biology$
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Erik Svensson and Ryan Calsbeek

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595372

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595372.001.0001

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How Humans Influence Evolution on Adaptive Landscapes

How Humans Influence Evolution on Adaptive Landscapes

(p.180) Chapter 12 How Humans Influence Evolution on Adaptive Landscapes
The Adaptive Landscape in Evolutionary Biology

Andrew P. Hendry

Virginie Millien

Andrew Gonzalez

Hans C. E. Larsson

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines three basic ways in which humans can alter evolution on adaptive landscapes: through changes in topography, changes in dimensionality, and phenotypic excursions. Changes in topography involve the numbers, positions, gradients, and elevations of surface features on the landscape, such as peaks and valleys. Changes in dimensionality involve the number of at least partially independent traits under selection. Excursions typically involve more or less abrupt changes in the phenotypic position of populations on existing adaptive landscapes, such as through plasticity, hybridization, or genetic manipulation. These different types of change can generate predictions for changes in selection and alterations in evolution — assuming the population can persist through the disturbance. Invasive species can have all of these classes of effects, either for the invasive species or for native species. Climate change will most obviously involve a shift in peak position, such as breeding times under warmer temperatures. Hunting/harvesting will also often involve a shift in peak position, particularly toward smaller and slower growing individuals, and might also decrease phenotypic variance. Habitat loss and fragmentation will influence numbers and positions of adaptive peaks, and can also influence excursions by altering patterns of gene flow in meta-populations. Finally, a decrease in habitat quality can decrease the heights of fitness peaks and cause adaptive landscapes to become smoother. It can also change dimensionality, such as through the introduction of a new contaminant. In conclusion, viewing human-induced environmental change in the framework of changes to adaptive landscapes offers new insights and new perspectives for research.

Keywords:   adaptive divergence, rapid evolution, contemporary evolution, adaptive radiation, migration, speciation, adaptation, adaptive landscape, human impacts, anthropogenic effects

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