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Species-rich networks and eco-evolutionary synthesis at the metacommunity level [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : coevolution, ecological networks, ecosystem ecology, microbial ecology, microbiome

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Understanding how ecological and evolutionary processes interdependently structure biosphere dynamics is a major challenge in the era of worldwide ecosystem degradation. However, our knowledge of ‘eco-evolutionary feedbacks’ depends largely on findings from simple systems representing limited spatial scales and involving few species. Here we review recent conceptual developments for the understanding of multispecies coevolutionary processes and then discuss how new lines of concepts and methods will accelerate the integration of ecology and evolutionary biology. To build a research workflow for integrating insights into spatiotemporal dynamics of species-rich systems, we focus on the roles of ‘metacommunity hub’ species, whose population size and/or genetic dynamics potentially control landscape- or regional-scale phenomena. As large amounts of network data are becoming available with high-throughput sequencing of various host–symbiont, prey–predator, and symbiont–symbiont interactions, we suggest it is now possible to develop bases for the integrated understanding and management of species-rich ecosystems.(...)

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