, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 657–667 | Cite as

Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences of Biological Invasion and Habitat Fragmentation

  • Thomas S. HoffmeisterEmail author
  • Louise EM. Vet
  • Arjen Biere
  • Kent Holsinger
  • Juliane Filser


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.


evolutionary processes phenotypic plasticity genotypic change trophic interactions invasive species habitat fragmentation 



This paper is based upon a discussion group at a European Science Foundation exploratory workshop at Texel, NL, that was organized by Wim van der Putten, Peter de Ruiter, and Martin Wassen. We are grateful to Wim van der Putten, Jeffrey Harvey and two anonymous referees for valuable comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas S. Hoffmeister
    • 1
    Email author
  • Louise EM. Vet
    • 2
  • Arjen Biere
    • 3
  • Kent Holsinger
    • 4
  • Juliane Filser
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (IFOE)University of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Terrestrial Ecology, Department of Multitrophic InteractionsNetherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)HeterenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre for Terrestrial Ecology, Department of Plant Population BiologyNetherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)HeterenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrs-MansfieldUSA
  5. 5.Department of General and Theoretical EcologyUFT, University of BremenBremenGermany

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