Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 2018 Dec 21;91(4):481-489.
eCollection 2018 Dec.

Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics: The Predator-Prey Adaptive Play and the Ecological Theater

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Review

Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics: The Predator-Prey Adaptive Play and the Ecological Theater

Mary K Burak et al. Yale J Biol Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The emerging field of eco-evolutionary dynamics has demonstrated that both ecological and evolutionary processes can occur contemporaneously. Ecological interactions, such as between predator and prey, are important focal areas where an eco-evolutionary perspective can advance understanding about phenotypically plastic and adaptive evolutionary responses. In predator-prey interactions, both species reciprocally respond and adapt to each other in order to simultaneously ensure resource consumption and predation avoidance. Here we sketch out a way to help unify experimental and analytical approaches to both eco-evolutionary dynamics and predator-prey interactions, with a specific focus on terrestrial systems. We discuss the need to view predator-prey eco-evolutionary dynamics as a perpetually adaptive interplay with constantly shifting pressures and feedbacks, rather than viewing it as driving a set evolutionary trajectory. We then outline our perspective on how to understand eco-evolutionary patterns in a predator-prey context. We propose initiating insight by distinguishing phenotypic plasticity against genetic change (i.e., "molecular reductionism") and further applying a landscape-scale perspective (i.e., "landscape holism"). We believe that studying predator-prey interactions under an eco-evolutionary lens can provide insights into how general and, consequently, predictable species' evolutionary responses are to their contemporary environments.

Keywords: adaptation; contemporary evolution; eco-evolutionary dynamics; eco-evolutionary feedback; landscape; phenotypic plasticity; predator-prey interaction; trait.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

References

    1. Hutchinson GE. The Ecological Theater and Evolutionary Play. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1965. p. 53.
    1. Thompson JN. Rapid evolution as an ecological process. Trends Ecol Evol. 1998;13:329–32. - PubMed
    1. Hairston NG, Ellner SP, Geber MA, Yoshida T, Fox JA. Rapid evolution and the convergence of ecological and evolutionary time. Ecol Lett. 2005;8:1114–27.
    1. Shoener TW. The newest synthesis: understanding the inter-play of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Science. 2011;331:426–9. - PubMed
    1. Post DM, Palkovacs EP. Eco-evolutionary feedbacks in community and ecosystem ecology: interactions between the ecological theatre and the evolutionary play. Philos Trans Royal Soc B: Biol Sci. 2009;364(1523):1629–40. - PMC - PubMed

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback