Evolutionary ecology of specialization: insights from phylogenetic analysis

Jana C. Vamosi, W. S. Armbruster, Susanne S. Renner

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In this Special feature, we assemble studies that illustrate phylogenetic approaches to studying salient questions regarding the effect of specialization on lineage diversification. The studies use an array of techniques involving a wide-ranging collection of biological systems (plants, butterflies, fish and amphibians are all represented). Their results reveal that macroevolutionary examination of specialization provides insight into the patterns of trade-offs in specialized systems; in particular, the genetic mechanisms of trade-offs appear to extend to very different aspects of life history in different groups. In turn, because a species may be a specialist from one perspective and a generalist in others, these trade-offs influence whether we perceive specialization to have effects on the evolutionary success of a lineage when we examine specialization only along a single axis. Finally, how geographical range influences speciation and extinction of specialist lineages remains a question offering much potential for further insight.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20142004
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1795
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


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