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Coevolutionary dynamics in ecological interactions across space

Grant number: 17/02510-7
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: July 01, 2017 - July 16, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Paulo Roberto Guimarães Junior
Grantee:Paulo Roberto Guimarães Junior
Visiting researcher: John N. Thompson
Visiting researcher institution: University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz), United States
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Ecological interactions shape fundamental aspects of species evolutionary dynamics. From a theoretical point of view, the evolutionary consequences of ecological interactions have been extensively studied using two-species models. However, in nature, one given ecological interaction is not isolated from other interactions. In a single locality, a vast array of ecological interactions can occur simultaneously; hence, ecological interactions are imbedded in local interaction networks. If we consider multiple localities the evolutionary consequences of ecological interactions can vary, depending on the ecological scenario present in each locality and in the gene flow among populations. The Prof. Thompson has extensively studied this important aspect of species interactions' evolution using a small set of species, both theoretically and empirically. Therefore, a fundamental next step to further our knowledge on species-rich coevolutionary dynamics is to combine coevolutionary models of species-rich networks with spatial structure and gene flow connecting those distinct populations. In this scientific visit to the laboratory I supervise, in Sao Paulo, Prof. Thompson will collaborate in several different projects that aim to integrate coevolutionary models with spatially explicit dynamics. We hope, in this way, to contribute to the development of a theory combining ecological interaction network structure with coevolutionary dynamics and species distribution spatial variation. (AU)