UW-Madison BOTANY 940 - Key Innovations and the Ecology of Macroevolution (6 pages)

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Key Innovations and the Ecology of Macroevolution



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Key Innovations and the Ecology of Macroevolution

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Lecture Notes


Pages:
6
School:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Course:
Botany 940 - Seminar in Plant Systematics and Evolution
Seminar in Plant Systematics and Evolution Documents

Unformatted text preview:

PERSPECTIVES Key innovations and the ecology of macroevolution John P Hunter The origin or evolutionary success of taxa is often attributed to key innovations aspects of organismal phenotype that promote diversification Different ways of delimiting taxa and measuring success i e number or longevity of species morphological variety or differential control of energy give rise to different ideas of how key innovations might operate Key innovations may enhance competitive ability relax adaptive trade offs or permit exploitation of a new productive resource base Recent key innovation studies comparing species richness in extant sister clades may miss important observations possible only with consideration of the fossil record traditional higher taxa and phenotypic diversity John P Hunter is at the Dept of Anatomy New York College of Osteopathic Medicine Old Westbury NY 11568 USA K ey innovations are aspects of organismal phenotype important to the origin or subsequent success of a taxonomic group This concept is controversial however because it is difficult to test hypothesized key innovations1 and because researchers understand the concept in different ways see Box 1 Nevertheless the various definitions of key innovation share the basic idea that some attributes of organisms have been important over evolutionary time The concept links autecology and macroevolution or more specifically the summed performance of individuals and the performance of a taxonomic group to which the individuals belong When properly investigated Boxes 2 and 3 key innovations can potentially link evolutionary processes acting on different hierarchical levels Nevertheless key innovation hypotheses are not attempts to reduce the causes of biological expansion down to a single factor Historically researchers have measured evolutionary success by the appearance of higher taxa the proliferation of species or the generation of new morphologies Each measures a different aspect of expansion in the use



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