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Title: Experimentally simulating the evolution-to-ecology connection: Divergent predator morphologies alter natural food webs
The idea that changing environmental conditions drive adaptive evolution is a pillar of evolutionary ecology. But, the opposite—that adaptive evolution alters ecological processes—has received far less attention yet is critical for eco-evolutionary dynamics. We assessed the ecological impact of divergent values in a key adaptive trait using 16 populations of the brown anole lizard ( Anolis sagrei ). Mirroring natural variation, we established islands with short- or long-limbed lizards at both low and high densities. We then monitored changes in lower trophic levels, finding that on islands with a high density of short-limbed lizards, web-spider densities decreased and plants grew more via an indirect positive effect, likely through an herbivore-mediated trophic cascade. Our experiment provides strong support for evolution-to-ecology connections in nature, likely closing an otherwise well-characterized eco-evolutionary feedback loop.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2012985
NSF-PAR ID:
10426563
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
120
Issue:
24
ISSN:
0027-8424
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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