, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 245–252 | Cite as

Ecosystem Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a New Frontier for Experiments and Models

  • John PastorEmail author
20th Anniversary Paper


One of the most important scientific problems about which we are profoundly ignorant is how ecosystem processes change as populations evolve. These changes in ecosystem processes are propelled by evolutionary changes in organism traits and in turn may exert additional selection pressures on the evolving populations. Understanding these feedbacks between ecosystem and evolutionary processes is a challenge for evolutionary and ecosystem theory and experiments in the 21st century. This essay reviews some recent empirical and theoretical studies which are beginning to shed light on the complexity of these feedbacks and makes suggestions for future directions and the training of the next generation of students.


ecosystems evolution fitness modeling nutrient cycling student training 



The author thanks Monica Turner and Steve Carpenter for inviting him to contribute to this Special Issue of Ecosystems and for their helpful and thoughtful comments on the manuscript. It was fun to think about these things.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Minnesota DuluthDuluthUSA

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