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The Coevolutionary Process of Communities


Pedraza Perez, Fernando. The Coevolutionary Process of Communities. 2024, University of Zurich, Faculty of Science.

Abstract

Ecological interactions can result in reciprocal evolutionary change. Examples of coevolution exist across all types of species interactions. For instance, antagonism can lead to arms-race dynamics between hosts and parasites. In turn, mutualism can result in trait synchrony of plants and their pollinators. Such coevolutionary dynamics have resulted in the diversification of life and some of its major evolu- tionary transitions. Yet, most of our understanding of coevolution comes from the study of pairwise interactions. Thus, we ignore how coevolution operates in communities, where species are embedded in complex networks of interactions. Here, I leverage models merg- ing evolutionary and network theories to explore the coevolution of ecological communities. First, I study how the structure of ecological networks affects the coevolution of species traits. Second, I explore how the nature of species interactions affects the coevolutionary dy- namics of communities. Third, I assess how coevolution modulates the structure of interactions networks and how this influences the robustness of communities to co-extinctions. Through my work I aim to understand how the ecology and evolution of communities are intertwined through the process of coevolution.

Abstract

Ecological interactions can result in reciprocal evolutionary change. Examples of coevolution exist across all types of species interactions. For instance, antagonism can lead to arms-race dynamics between hosts and parasites. In turn, mutualism can result in trait synchrony of plants and their pollinators. Such coevolutionary dynamics have resulted in the diversification of life and some of its major evolu- tionary transitions. Yet, most of our understanding of coevolution comes from the study of pairwise interactions. Thus, we ignore how coevolution operates in communities, where species are embedded in complex networks of interactions. Here, I leverage models merg- ing evolutionary and network theories to explore the coevolution of ecological communities. First, I study how the structure of ecological networks affects the coevolution of species traits. Second, I explore how the nature of species interactions affects the coevolutionary dy- namics of communities. Third, I assess how coevolution modulates the structure of interactions networks and how this influences the robustness of communities to co-extinctions. Through my work I aim to understand how the ecology and evolution of communities are intertwined through the process of coevolution.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation (monographical)
Referees:Bascompte Jordi, Wagner Andreas, Petchey Owen, Mitri Sara
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
UZH Dissertations
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Place of Publication:Zürich
Date:24 April 2024
Deposited On:24 Apr 2024 12:57
Last Modified:02 May 2024 07:54
Number of Pages:146
OA Status:Green
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English