Consequences Of Coevolution

Coevolution has undoubtedly had major effects on the history and diversity of life. Many of the adaptive differences among organisms—the many thousands of toxic defensive compounds in different plants, insects, and fungi, the many forms of flowers, the diverse growth forms of plants, the sometimes astonishingly specialized diets of animals—have issued from interactions among species. The numbers of species, too, may have been augmented by coevolution, as Ehrlich and Raven proposed. Coevolution among competitors can also augment the species diversity in communities, producing suites of specialized species that finely partition resources among them. In theory, such coevolution may result in ecosystem-level effects such as higher productivity and resource consumption, but the evidence on this subject is very sparse.

See Also the Following Articles

Insectivorous Plants • Parasitoids • Plant—Insect Interactions • Predation • Symbionts

Further Reading

Abrams, P. A. (2000). The evolution of predator—prey interactions: Theory and evidence. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 31, 79—105. Benkman, C. W., Holiman, W. C., and Smith, J. W. (2001). The influence of a competitor on the geographic mosaic of coevolution between crossbills and lodgepole pine. Evolution 55, 282—294. Berenbaum, M., and Zangerl, A. (1998). Chemical phenotype matching between a plant and its insect herbivore. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 95, 13473-13478.

Ehrlich, P. R., and Raven, P. A. (1964). Butterflies and plants: A study in coevolution. Evolution 18, 586-608. Farrell, B. D. (1998). "Inordinate fondness" explained: Why are there so many beetles? Science 281, 555-559. Frank, S. A. (1996). Models of parasite virulence. Q. Rev. Biol. 71, 37-78. Fritz, R. S., and Simms, E. L. (eds.) (1992). "Plant Resistance to Herbivores and Pathogens: Ecology, Evolution, and Genetics." University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Futuyma, D. J. (1998). "Evolutionary Biology," 3rd ed., pp. 539-560. Sinauer, Sunderland, MA.

Futuyma, D. J., and Mitter, C. (1996). Insect—plant interactions: The evolution of component communities. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London B 351, 1361—1366.

Kraaijeveld, A. R., and Godfray, H. C. J. (1999). Geographic patterns in the evolution of resistance and virulence in Drosophila and its parasitoids. Am. Naturalist 153, S61—S74.

Lively, C. M. (1999). Migration, virulence, and the geographic mosaic of adaptation by parasites. Am. Naturalist 153, S34—S47.

Schluter, D. (2000). "The Ecology of Adaptive Radiation." Oxford University Press, New York.

Thompson, J. N. (1994). "The Coevolutionary Process." University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Thompson, J. N. (1999). Specific hypotheses on the geographic mosaic of coevolution. Am. Naturalist 153, S1—S14.

Wahlberg, N. (2001). The phylogenetics and biochemistry of host—plant specialization in melitaeine butterflies. Evolution 55, 522—537.

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