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Eco- and Socio-Evolutionary Dynamics, KU Leuven - University of Leuven

Traditionally, ecological and evolutionary processes have largely been studied independent from each other. There is growing evidence, however, that ecological and evolutionary dynamics can occur at the same time scale and can thus strongly interact with each other. Ignoring these interactions may amongst others distort our view on human impact on natural ecosystems, for instance in the context of fisheries, land use, climate change, and the introduction of exotic species. In addition to the coupling of eco−evolutionary dynamics, we expect similar interactions between social and evolutionary processes. Social behavior and social structure may influence evolution, and evolution may shape social structure. Socio−evolutionary dynamics are expected in all organisms that show group behavior, and will be especially important in species that form organized societies such as social insects and humans. Both eco−evolutionary and socio−evolutionary dynamics are therefore expected to be common and relevant to a wide range of organisms and a broad array of fundamental and applied questions.

The main objective of the research programme is to obtain insight into the characteristics of eco− and socio−evolutionary dynamics and their impact on biological responses to environmental changes in a well−chosen set of model systems, strongly broadening the scale of earlier research.

Eco- and socio-evolutionary dynamics



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