Evolutionary ecology of specialization: insights from phylogenetic analysis

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

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Abstract

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
Volume281
Issue number1795
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

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