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Oecologia

, Volume 178, Issue 1, pp 1–4 | Cite as

Individual-level niche specialization within populations: emerging areas of study

  • Craig A. LaymanEmail author
  • Seth D. Newsome
  • Tara Gancos Crawford
Special Topic: Individual-level niche specialization

Introduction

Charles Darwin would likely question the novelty of a special section on intraspecific variation 156 years after publication of On the Origin of Species. Not only was phenotypic variation fundamental to the theory of evolution by natural selection, Darwin argued it was a challenge in classifying individuals to particular species. He wrote in chapter 2: “… but I could show by a long catalogue of facts, that parts which must be called important, whether viewed under a physiological or classificatory point of view, sometimes vary in the individuals of the same species. I am convinced that the most experienced naturalist would be surprised at the number of the cases of variability, even in important parts of structure…” (Darwin 1859).

Yet during the historical development of many sub-disciplines in the ecological sciences, inter-individual differences were typically subsumed to coarser levels of classification. In community ecology, species served as the nodes in food web...

Keywords

Diet Variation Individual Specialization Resource Category Eurasian Perch Ecological Opportunity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig A. Layman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Seth D. Newsome
    • 2
  • Tara Gancos Crawford
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Applied EcologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Warnell School of Forestry and Natural ResourcesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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