Understanding the origin and maintenance of biodiversity through eco-evolutionary feedbacks

 I will first show how the introduction of evolutionary dynamics in the ecological resilience theory can fundamentally reshape our knowledge about resilience and tipping points in ecosystems. For example, it is traditionally established that an ecosystem tips to an alternative stable state when an environmental threshold is exceeded. On the contrary, we have shown that eco-evolutionary feedbacks can cause an ecosystem to tip without exceeding an environmental threshold. Second, I will turn to one of the most enduring problems in evolutionary biology: why sex is so widespread in nature? or in other words, why a larger number of species reproduce sexually relative to those that reproduce only asexually? These questions necessarily entail to ask how the reproductive mode influence the process whereby species arise. In the search for answers, several mechanisms that enable the maintenance of sex within populations have been identified, but little is known about the influence of the reproductive mode on diversification. Using ecological diversification as an example, I will show that there exist intrinsic differences in the diversification process associated with each reproductive mode that can explain the observed dominance of sexual reproduction. Finally, I will conclude highlighting the tight link between evolutionary mechanisms, and population and community process. 


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Víctor M. Eguíluz

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