Research Community (2010-2014): Eco-evolutionary dynamics in natural and anthropogenic communities
Throughout the history of our planet evolutionary processes have played largely without human interference. Only recently have evolutionary and ecological processes and changes been appreciated to occur on similar time scales. As such they may interact, creating so-called eco-evolutionary dynamics. This should be especially true if selective agents are strong. Human activities (such as urbanization, harvesting, and combustion of fossil fuels) are occurring at such a rate and strength over the whole globe that they are considered a major selective force outpacing other agents of trait change in the wild. This has unprecedented qualitative and spatial evolutionary consequences on wild populations and ecosystems. Anthropogenic impact results in altered environmental gradients and may induce regime shifts in ecosystems. Identifying, unravelling and understanding how human-driven evolutionary processes and responses interact with ecological processes is a key challenge for humankind to reduce negative impacts on ecosystem services and to maintain biodiversity. The Research Community brings Belgian and international teams together at this interface of ecology and evolution. It will cover topics such as micro-speciation, co-evolution, genetic landscapes, evolving metacommunities and ecological and evolutionary functional genomics.
The research community ECO-EVO organises workshops, seminars, personal contacts and a biannual symposium.