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Inter-individual variation promotes ecological success of populations and species : evidence from experimental and comparative studies [Ecography]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Biological diversity is threatened by exploitation, fragmentation of natural habitats, pollution, climate change, and anthropogenic spread of species. The question of how among-individual variation influences the performance of populations and species is a poorly explored but currently growing field of research. Here, we review 31 experimental and 14 comparative studies and first investigate whether there is empirical support for the propositions that higher levels of among-individual phenotypic and genetic variation promote the ecological and evolutionary success of populations and species in the face of environmental change. Next, we examine whether and how the effect of diversity depends on environmental conditions. Finally, we explore whether the relationship linking population fitness to diversity is typically linear, asymptotic, or whether the benefits peak at intermediate diversity.(...)

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