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Irreversible Processes in Ecological Evolution/PriyangaAmarasekare

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Notes by user Priyanga Amarasekare (UCLA) for Irreversible Processes in Ecological Evolution

Post-meeting Reflection

1+ paragraphs on any combination of the following:

  • Presentation highlights
  • Open questions that came up
  • How your perspective changed
  • Impact on your own work
  • e.g. the discussion on [A] that we are having reminds me of [B] conference/[C] initiative/[D] funding call-for-proposal/[E] research group
  1. Presentation highlights: (i) The role of constraints in phenotypic evolution as means of generating irreversible evolutionary endpoints and set upper limits to evolutionary trajectories. (ii) Role of constraints in species' ability to adapt to changing environments. (iii) Species come up against hard limits to phenotypic plasticity under climate warming. (iv) In order for thermal reaction norms to evolve in the face of climate warming, there has to be genetic variation. Unclear that reaction norms under strong biochemical control (e.g., development) have sufficient amounts of variation for the upper thermal limit to evolve in response to warming.

2. Open questions:

2.1 Connection between Darwinian adaptationist evolution and the idea of increase in disorder (as in the second law of thermodynamics)

2.2 What exactly are irreversible evolutionary endpoints? Can we come up with a specific definition of irreversibility?

2.3 Selection and constraints are not the same thing. This needs to be clarified.

3. How my perspective has changed: I want to think more carefully and deeply about the connection between Darwinian evolution and the second law of thermodynamics.

4. Reflections on other presentations

4.1 Stephen Proulx - I very much liked this presentation about the population genetics of low-probability transitions. I was particularly interested in stochastic selection due to lottery competition that leads to alternative stable states making it possible for mutations of large effect to cause transitions between states in a directional manner. I also liked the models of stochastic tunneling or valley crossing, that provide possible avenues for transitions between states. The case of multiple independent mutations enabling valley crossing is equally fascinating. I particularly liked how the examples shown related to the central theme of irreversibility and transitions.

4.2 Dervis Can Vural - An elegant presentation of the evolution of cooperation against the backdrop of fluid dynamics. I would like the theory to be generalized to perturbations other than shear so that it can also apply to pathogenic microbes within a host and other situations that do not involve fluid as a medium. I think you also should take the plunge and try to connect this theory to Hamilton's theory of kin selection. It is hard, and perhaps not analytically tractable, but it would be worth doing.

4.3. Samraat Pawar - I like the connection between metabolic constraints on species interactions and carbon fluxes.

4.4 Fernanda Valdovinos - The idea that adaptive foraging by mutualists (e.g., pollinators) allowing the persistence of nested mutualistic networks is a novel and exciting finding that pushes the field forward.

Reference material notes

Some examples:

  • Here is [A] database on [B] that I pull data from to do [C] analysis that might be of interest to this group (insert link).
  • Here is a free tool for calculating [ABC] (insert link)
  • This painting/sculpture/forms of artwork is emblematic to our discussion on [X]!
  • Schwartz et al. 2017 offers a review on [ABC] migration as relate to climatic factors (add the reference as well).

Reference Materials

Title Author name Source name Year Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days. Page views Related file
Temperature dependence of the functional response Göran Englund, Gunnar Öhlund, Catherine L. Hein, Sebastian Diehl Ecology Letters 2011 226 13
The common patterns of nature S. A. Frank Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2009 117 2
Temperature dependence of the functional response2 Ecology Letters 2011 0 25 Download

Presenter on the following Agenda items

Phenotypic evolution in the Anthropocene

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