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Special Issue Integrating Phylogenies into Community Ecology1
 

Summary: Special Issue
Integrating Phylogenies into Community Ecology1
The organisms that live together in a community do so both because they are present in the larger
regional pool and because they have characteristics that permit their existence at that locality and
their coexistence with other species in the community. Neither a species' regional presence nor its
characters can be fully understood without taking the species' history into account. That history is
contingent on chance events and on deterministic interactions with other species in historical
communities. As this historical approach gains favor in ecology, and as our understanding of the tree
of life expands, ecologists and systematists are increasingly working together. However, this new
partnership often requires synthesizing ideas across disciplines. Our goal with this Special Issue is to
explore the practical interchange of concepts between evolutionary biology and community ecology,
highlighting studies that both use phylogenetic information and consider the community context of
individual organisms, and that represent a range of disciplines, from microbiology and parasitology
to ornithology.
Several common threads weave through the papers. The first concerns the importance and
definition of the local community itself. As one steps back and takes a historical and biogeographic
view of a species, averaging over variation in local community composition across its range, local
interspecific interactions appear less influential for the species' evolution. Ricklefs, in considering the
causes of variation in the emergent property of community species richness, goes so far as to say that
``ecologists [must] abandon the idea of the local community.'' At the same time, however, there is

  

Source: Agrawal, Anurag - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Entomollogy, Cornell University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology