Weevils and camellias in a Darwin’s race: model system for the study of eco-evolutionary interactions between species
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Organisms are surrounded by their predators, parasites, hosts, and mutualists, being involved in reciprocal adaptation processes with such “biotic environment”. The concept of “coevolution”, therefore, provides a basis for the comprehensive understanding of evolutionary and ecological dynamics in biological communities and ecosystems. Recent studies have shown that coevolutionary processes are spatially heterogeneous and that traits mediating interspecific interactions can evolve rapidly in natural communities. Here, I discuss factors promoting the geographic differentiation of coevolutionary interactions, the spatial scales of the geographic structuring, and the pace of coevolutionary changes, reviewing findings in the arms race coevolution involving a long-mouthed weevil and its host camellia plant. Evolutionary, ecological, and population genetic studies on the system illuminated that viewpoints from the aspect of “coevolving biosphere” were important for predicting how ongoing anthropogenic change in global environment alter the spatiotemporal dynamics of biological communities.
KeywordsArms race Climate change Coevolution Community ecology Productivity gradients
I am grateful to anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments that improved the manuscript. This work was supported by a grant-in-aid from Hakubi center, Kyoto University.
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