Evolution and Coevolution in Communities

  • D. J. Futuyma
Part of the Dahlem Workshop Reports book series (DAHLEM, volume 36)


Communities, broadly defined, are evident virtually from the beginning of the fossil record; the most general features of their structure may be said to arise automatically, but this cannot be said for more detailed aspects of structure, such as resource partitioning, even for contemporary communities. Diversity, although interrupted by major extinction events, tends to increase globally and probably locally. Although some guilds may approach the limits of species packing, new resources (species) emerge during evolution: these species and those that evolve to use them contribute to long-term increases in diversity. Trends toward greater ecological specialization may exist but are uncertain. Analogies between these trends and those that characterize ecological succession are probably just that. The taxonomic composition of a community is determined largely by ecological processes of invasion and extinction of species that owe their attributes more to phylogenetic history, to a long, extremely diffuse history of spatially, temporally, and phylogenetically discontinuous ecological interactions, than to immediate coevolutionary responses in situ or to coevolutionary adjustment of particular lineages over extended periods of ecological time.


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Copyright information

© Dr. S. Bernhard, Dahlem Konferenzen 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Futuyma
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Ecology and EvolutionState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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