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Evolutionary EcologyConcepts and Case Studies$
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Charles W. Fox, Derek A. Roff, and Daphne J. Fairbairn

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195131543.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 June 2021

The Geographic Dynamics of Coevolution

The Geographic Dynamics of Coevolution

(p.331) 25 The Geographic Dynamics of Coevolution
Evolutionary Ecology

John N. Thompson

Oxford University Press

Coevolution is reciprocal evolutionary change in interacting species driven by natural selection. It is a pervasive evolutionary process that has shaped many of the major events in the history of life, including the origin of the eukaryotic cell, the origin of plants, the evolution of coral reefs, and the formation of lichens, mycorrhizae, and rhizobia, all of which are crucial in the development of terrestrial communities. Just as important, evidence is increasing that Coevolution is an important ongoing ecological process, continually shaping and reshaping interactions among species, sometimes over time spans of only a few decades. This chapter is an evaluation of coevolution as an ongoing process shaped by the geographic structure of interactions among species. It is an analysis of what we have learned recently as we have taken a broader geographic view of how coevolution continually remolds the relationships among taxa. The first mathematical models of geographically structured coevolution were developed only in the past few years, and there are still fewer than a dozen empirical studies that have analyzed any aspects of coevolutionary structure and dynamics across geographic landscapes. Nevertheless, these theoretical and empirical studies have together suggested that coevolution is very likely a much more dynamic process than suggested by the previous several decades of study in evolutionary ecology. Coevolution is a hierarchical process. Local populations of species interact with one another and sometimes coevolve. These local populations are in turn connected through gene flow to populations in other communities, and this geographic structuring adds another level to the coevolutionary process. Local geographic clusters of populations may show metapopulation dynamics, and yet broader geographic groupings of populations may show considerable genetic differentiation in the traits of interacting species. Only a subset of locally or regionally coevolving traits will eventually sweep through all populations. Hence, coevolution as seen in comparisons of interacting phylogenetic lineages will show only a small fraction of the Coevolutionary dynamics found at the population, metapopulation, and broader geographic scales. Within this hierarchical structure of coevolution, many of the dynamics may occur above the level of local populations and below the level of the fixed traits of species for three reasons: Many species are collections of genetically differentiated populations, the outcomes of species interactions commonly differ among communities, and interacting species often do not have identical geographic ranges.

Keywords:   Arms race, Biodiversity, Coadaptation, Coevolutionary hotspots, Epistasis, Genetic drift, Hybridization, Interdemic selection, Local fluctuating selection, Maladaptations

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