Evolutionary Ecology

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Evolutionary ecology is the field of science that studies biological diversity as the outcome of evolution and ecology. It aims to explain the distributions, abundance and characteristics of organisms from historical and contemporary processes. Natural selection is the evolutionary process leading to adaptations, equipping organisms with traits that enhance their survival and reproduction in a particular habitat. Also nonadaptive evolution, speciation and extinction processes have shaped species diversity, trait diversity and genetic diversity. The ecological processes that affect diversity include within-species interactions, between-species interactions, the abiotic conditions of the environment, and the exchange among communities at both local and regional scales. Genetic diversity can be investigated to study the ecological and evolutionary factors driving species distributions, and to study adaptive evolution to different habitats. The research field of evolutionary ecology is vast, nearly all-encompassing. Many subdisciplines emerged that focus on different subsets of processes or spatio-temporal scales. The early history of evolutionary ecology is briefly summarized, as well as the modern developments of genomics technology, and how this has contributed to the dynamic research field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Ecology
EditorsBrian Fath
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic) 9780444641304
ISBN (Print)978-0-444-63768-0
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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