Tuesday, August 7, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
A106, Oregon Convention Center
Steven P. Brady, Dartmouth College
David K. Skelly, Yale University
The “newest synthesis” of ecology, evolution and genetics is well underway, gaining traction in increasingly larger circles of environmental sciences. The recognition that evolutionary and ecological processes interact intimately is broadening. More and more, investigators are incorporating insights from eco-evolutionary theory and empirical studies into the development and testing of an emerging suite of research questions aimed explicitly at accounting for contemporary evolution as an ecological actor. Eco-evolutionary approaches are critical for gaining insights into long-term changes among populations and communities, particularly those influenced by anthropogenic processes. Indeed, the eco-evolutionary approach is revealing key, and often cryptic, insights into species’ adaptive capacities—or lack thereof—in the face of novel selection pressures associated with human induced environmental change. Yet, while it is well accepted that our capacity for sustaining ecosystems depends critically on our ability to forecast long-term effects, eco-evolutionary approaches have only recently been brought bear on this imperative. Absent evolutionary understanding, such projections can land severely off course. Through this session, we aim to (1) showcase the profound importance of employing eco-evolutionary approaches in investigations designed at understanding biological responses to human altered systems; (2) and to provide a synthesis of knowledge aimed at paving the way forward for applied eco-evolutionary research. We thank bioGENESIS, a core project of DIVERSITAS, for their support of this session.