Chapter

Ecology and Adaptive Radiation

Jonathan B. Losos

in Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780520255913
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943735 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520255913.003.0011
Ecology and Adaptive Radiation

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Adaptive radiation is the evolutionary divergence of members of a clade to adapt to different ecological niches in a variety of ways. The theory of adaptive radiation in anoles suggests that this diversity is the result of ecological interactions between initially similar species. Three predictions stem from this theory: (1) sympatric species interact ecologically, primarily by competing for resources; (2) as a result of these interactions, species alter their resource use; and (3) as a result of shifts in resource use, species evolve appropriate adaptations. This chapter documents evidence from anoles for the first two of these predictions, first reviewing the structure of anole communities and the ecological relationships among coexisting anole species. It then describes patterns of resource partitioning and niche complementarity in anoles, and finally discusses interspecific competition and different forms of anole interactions, including predation, parasitism, and mutualism.

Keywords: adaptive radiation; resource use; resource partitioning; niche complementarity; competition; predation; parasitism; mutualism

Chapter.  12306 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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