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The role of stressors in altering eco‐evolutionary dynamics

Theodosiou, Loukas, Hiltunen, Teppo, Becks, Lutz
Functional ecology 2019 v.33 no.1 pp. 73-83
abiotic stress, antipredatory behavior, evolutionary biology, gene flow, models, mutation, population size, stress tolerance
We review and synthesize evidence from the fields of ecology, evolutionary biology and population genetics to investigate how the presence of abiotic stress can affect the feedback between ecological and evolutionary dynamics. To obtain a better insight of how, and under what conditions, an abiotic stressor can influence eco‐evolutionary dynamics, we use a conceptual predator–prey model where the prey can rapidly evolve antipredator defences and stress resistance. We show how abiotic stress influences eco‐evolutionary dynamics by changing the pace and in some case the potential for evolutionary change and thus the evolution‐to‐ecology link. Whether and how the abiotic stress influences this link depends on the effect on population sizes, mutation rates, the presence of gene flow and the genetic architecture underlying the traits involved. Overall, we report ecological and population genetic mechanisms that have so far not been considered in studies on eco‐evolutionary dynamics and suggest future research directions and experiments to develop an understanding of the role of eco‐evolutionary dynamics in more complex ecological and evolutionary scenarios. A plain language summary is available for this article.