All stressed out and nowhere to go: does evolvability limit adaptation in invasive species?
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Introduced and invasive species are major threats native species and communities and, quite naturally, most scientists and managers think of them in terms of ecological problems. However, species introductions are also experiments in evolution, both for the alien species and for the community that they colonize. We focus here on the introduced species because these offer opportunities to study the properties that allow a species to succeed in a novel habitat and the constraints that limit range expansion. Moreover, an increasing body of evidence from diverse taxa suggests that the introduced species often undergo rapid and observable evolutionary change in their new habitat. Evolution requires genetic variation, which may be decreased or expanded during an invasion, and an evolutionary mechanism such as genetic drift or natural selection. In this volume, we seek to understand how natural selection produces adaptive evolution during invasions. Key questions include what is the role of biotic and abiotic stress in driving adaptation, and what is the source of genetic variation in introduced populations.
KeywordsAdaptation Biological invasion Genetic variation Phenotypic plasticity Evolution
This symposium was funded by the Society for the Study of Evolutionary Biology and presented at the June 2004 SSE/SSB/ASN conference at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO USA. We thank the speakers, Scott Edwards, Ary Hoffmann, Robert G. Latta, Loren Rieseberg, Suzannah Rutherford, and Cynthia Weinig for their thoughtful comments and discussion both during the meeting and in the production of this collection of papers. GWG's participation was supported by NSF.
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