Coevolutionary Dynamics and the Conservation of Mutualisms

Bronstein JL, Dieckmann U, & Ferriere R (2004). Coevolutionary Dynamics and the Conservation of Mutualisms. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-04-061

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Abstract

The vast majority of studies in conservation biology focus on a single species at a time. However, many of the anthropogenic threats that species face occur via disrupted or enhanced interactions with other organisms. According to one recent analysis, interactions with introduced species, such as predators, parasites, and pathogens, are the eighth leading cause of species endangerment worldwide; they are the primary cause of endangerment in Hawaii and Puerto Rico (Czech and Krausman 1997). Altering interactions not only has ecological effects, but also it can generate selective pressures and evolutionary responses, which may either favor or disfavor the evolutionary persistence of species and interactions. An increased focus on interspecific interactions will thus enlighten our efforts to conserve species and, more pointedly, our ability to understand when species will and will not respond evolutionarily to conservation threats. Such a focus is also critical for efforts to conserve communities as units, because interactions are the crucial and poorly understood link between threatened species and threatened species assemblages.

Different types of interspecific interactions are subject to, and generate, some-what different ecological and evolutionary threats. Predator and pathogen introductions can lead to reduction, local exclusion, or extinction of native species (Savidge 1987; Schofield 1989; Kinzie 1992; Steadman 1995; Louda et al. 1997). Rapid evolution in the enemies and/or the victims may also result (Dwyer et al. 1990; Singer and Thomas 1996; Carroll et al. 1998).

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Adaptive Dynamics Network (ADN)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:17
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2016 17:31
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/7388

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