Evolutionary ecology

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A phylogenetic tree of living things.

Evolutionary ecology lies at the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology. It approaches the study of ecology in a way that explicitly considers the evolutionary histories of species and the interactions between them. Conversely, it can be seen as an approach to the study of evolution that incorporates an understanding of the interactions between the species under consideration. The main subfields of evolutionary ecology are life history evolution, sociobiology (the evolution of social behavior), the evolution of interspecific relations (cooperation, predator-prey interactions, parasitism, mutualism) and the evolution of biodiversity and of communities.

Pristine, natural environments that have been relatively unaltered by humans are of particular importance in evolutionary ecology because they constitute the environments to which any particular organism has become adapted to over time.[1]

Evolutionary ecologists

Julia Margaret Cameron’s portrait of Darwin

Evolutionary models

A large part of Evolutionary ecology is about utilising models and finding empirical data as proof. Examples include the Lack clutch size model devised by David Lack; the 1968 model on the specialization of species by Richard Levins; and Law & Diekmann's models on mutualisms.

Current research

Research is going into how organisms became social, the evolution of sex,[3] the evolution of specialization and many more.

See also

Other references

  • Fox, C.W., Roff, D.A. and Fairbairn, D.J. 2001. Evolutionary Ecology: Concepts and Case Studies. Oxford University Press.
  • Mayhew, P.J. 2006. Discovering Evolutionary Ecology: Bringing Together Ecology and Evolution. Oxford University Press.
  • Pianka, E.R. 2000. Evolutionary Ecology, 6th ed. Benjamin Cummings.


  1. Eric R. Pianka. 2011. Evolutionary Ecology. Seventh Edition - eBook. Page 6. Accessed 7 June 2014.
  2. Eric R. Pianka. 2011. Evolutionary Ecology. Seventh Edition - eBook. Page 13. Accessed 7 June 2014.
  3. Lodé T. 2011. Sex is not a solution for reproduction: the libertine bubble theory. Bioessays 33:419-422

External links