Environmental change and the role of evolution in the community assembly process
Environmental change could affect ecological communities in a number of ways, including the relationships of individual species to their physical surroundings, the intensity and directionality of interactions among member species, and by generating new dispersal patterns between geographical locations. This talk will describe theoretical approaches that explore conceptually how environmental change might influence the roles of direct and indirect adaptive evolution in the establishment of new species in community, which is a critical component of the community assembly process.
The theoretical analyses show that environmentally induced changes in the intensity or sign of interspecific interactions can either magnify, diminish, or reverse the impact of adaptive evolution on the potential for colonizing species to join an existing community. In addition, the results show that changes in colonization patterns prompted by changes in the environment can exaggerate the importance of adaptive evolution for the resistance of resident species to the establishment of new species.