Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Biological Invasion and Habitat Fragmentation
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- Hoffmeister, T.S., Vet, L.E., Biere, A. et al. Ecosystems (2005) 8: 657. doi:10.1007/s10021-003-0138-8
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There is substantial evidence that environmental changes on a landscape level can have dramatic consequences for the species richness and structure of food webs as well as on trophic interactions within such food webs. Thus far, the consequences of environmental change, and particularly the effects of invasive species and the fragmentation and isolation of natural habitats, have most often been studied in a purely ecological context, with the main emphasis on the description of alterations in species abundance and diversity and trophic links within food webs. Here, we argue that the study of evolutionary processes that may be affected by such changes is urgently needed to enhance our understanding of the consequences of environmental change. This requires an approach that treats species as dynamic systems with plastic responses to change rather than as static entities. As such, phenotypic plasticity on an individual level and genotypic change as a population level response should be taken into account when studying the consequences of a changing world. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we report on recent advances in our understanding, identify some major gaps in our current knowledge, and point towards rewarding approaches to enhance our understanding of how environmental change alters trophic interactions and ecosystems.