Evolutionary Community Ecology

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The study of interactions between ecology and evolution have been 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, what is often overlooked is the possibility of that evolution impacts short-term ecological dynamics. 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 suggest that this can qualitatively alter both ecological and evolutionary outcomes. The Turcotte lab develops novel approaches to experimentally quantify these interactions in field communities.