Eco-evolutionary Dynamics in an Urbanizing Planet

Trends Ecol Evol. 2015 Feb;30(2):114-26. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.11.007. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

Abstract

A great challenge for ecology in the coming decades is to understand the role humans play in eco-evolutionary dynamics. If, as emerging evidence shows, rapid evolutionary change affects ecosystem functioning and stability, current rapid environmental change and its evolutionary effects might have significant implications for ecological and human wellbeing on a relatively short time scale. Humans are major selective agents with potential for unprecedented evolutionary consequences for Earth's ecosystems, especially as cities expand rapidly. In this review, I identify emerging hypotheses on how urbanization drives eco-evolutionary dynamics. Studying how human-driven micro-evolutionary changes interact with ecological processes offers us the chance to advance our understanding of eco-evolutionary feedbacks and will provide new insights for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function over the long term.

Keywords: co-evolution; eco-evolutionary dynamics; ecosystem function; urban ecosystems; urbanization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Human Activities
  • Urbanization / trends*