How to approach the study of syndromes in macroevolution and ecology.
Harris, Jesse C
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Sinnott-Armstrong, M. A., Deanna, R., Pretz, C., Liu, S., Harris, J. C., Dunbar-Wallis, A., Smith, S. D., & et al. (2022). How to approach the study of syndromes in macroevolution and ecology.. Ecol Evol, 12 (3) https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8583
Funder: National Park Foundation; Id: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100001261
Funder: National Council for Scientific Research and Techniques
Funder: Mt Cuba Center
Syndromes, wherein multiple traits evolve convergently in response to a shared selective driver, form a central concept in ecology and evolution. Recent work has questioned the existence of some classic syndromes, such as pollination and seed dispersal syndromes. Here, we discuss some of the major issues that have afflicted research into syndromes in macroevolution and ecology. First, correlated evolution of traits and hypothesized selective drivers is often relied on as the only evidence for adaptation of those traits to those hypothesized drivers, without supporting evidence. Second, the selective driver is often inferred from a combination of traits without explicit testing. Third, researchers often measure traits that are easy for humans to observe rather than measuring traits that are suited to testing the hypothesis of adaptation. Finally, species are often chosen for study because of their striking phenotypes, which leads to the illusion of syndromes and divergence. We argue that these issues can be avoided by combining studies of trait variation across entire clades or communities with explicit tests of adaptive hypotheses and that taking this approach will lead to a better understanding of syndrome-like evolution and its drivers.
Evolutionary ecology, VIEWPOINT, convergent evolution, pollination syndromes, syndromes, trait evolution
National Science Foundation (DEB 1553114, DEB 1557871, GRFP DGE 1650115, PRFB DBI 1907293)
National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion (PICT 2017‐2370)
Secretaria de Ciencia y Tecnica, Universidad de Buenos Aires (203/14)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8583
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/335000