Evolutionary Community Ecology

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The study of the interactions between ecology and evolution has a long history. It is well understood that the ecological environment drives evolution (blue arrow) and we know that evolution is the ultimate source of variation among species, which dictates ecological interactions (green arrow). Yet, the possibility of that evolution impacts short-term ecological dynamics is often overlooked. Given many recent examples of rapid evolutionary change, in ecologically important traits (e.g., predator resistance), occurring over a few generations or years, suggests that both arrows of causality might occur at the same short timescale. Such reciprocal eco-evolutionary interactions fundamentally alter how ecology and evolution are linked and theory suggests that this can qualitatively alter both ecological and evolutionary outcomes. The Turcotte lab develops novel approaches to experimentally quantify these interactions in field communities. Current research topics include:

Experimental eco-evolutionary dynamics in the field.

The role of phenotypic plasticity in species coexistence.

The eco-evolutionary impacts of plant domestication.