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Evolutionary TheoryA Hierarchical Perspective$
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Niles Eldredge, Telmo Pievani, Emanuele Serrelli, and Ilya Tëmkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226426051

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226426198.001.0001

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Ecology and Evolution: Neither Separate nor Merged

Ecology and Evolution: Neither Separate nor Merged

Chapter:
(p.227) Ecology and Evolution: Neither Separate nor Merged
Source:
Evolutionary Theory
Author(s):

Emanuele Serrelli

Ilya Tëmkin

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226426198.003.0015

Since the 1970s, frequent attempts were made to bridge the gap between ecology and evolution. Ecology was divided into community ecology, that studies the composition and assembly of populations, communities, and metacommunities, and ecosystem science, that studies organisms and their environment as parts of interactive systems characterized by various “functions” (e.g., productivity, decomposition) and efficiency measures (e.g., food chain efficiency). Following the Modern Synthesis, evolutionary biology, on the other hand, was focused on genealogical processes (natural selection, drift, speciation) and came to consider ecological assemblies as aggregations characterized by secondary, derived patterns, or even to imagine them as a rather uninteractive 'stage' for the evolutionary play. Paleobiological macroevolutionary studies, models of niche construction and evolutionary ecology are attempts towards greater integration between ecological and genealogical patterns. The hierarchy theory of evolution is suggested to provide the most appropriate theoretical framework for the multiscale integration between the two disciplines.

Keywords:   ecology, hierarchy theory of evolution, ecosystem, community, evolutionary ecology, interaction, Modern Synthesis, ecological stage, evolution

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