ORCID Identifier(s)

0000-0003-0489-9917

Graduation Semester and Year

2019

Language

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Biology

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Matthew R Walsh

Abstract

Preserving the health of ecosystems on Earth rewards local communities with economic benefits and improved quality of life. Yet, humans often perform activities that disrupt natural systems and lead to declines in biodiversity and ecosystem services. As a result, scientists face increasing pressure to predict ecological changes under different scenarios of anthropogenic inputs. One factor that is typically omitted from current forecasts is the potential for ongoing evolution in populations and resulting impacts on ecology (i.e. eco-evolutionary dynamics). Here, I present a collection of studies that test for an influence of eco-evolutionary dynamics on different aspects of global change and evaluate how phenotypic plasticity mediates interactions between ecology and evolution. Using a combination of laboratory and field-based methods, I show that eco-evolutionary feedbacks can be important for understanding and predicting patterns of global change and, further, that the expression of phenotypic plasticity may influence the nature and tempo of eco-evolutionary dynamics. I conclude by suggesting ways of incorporating this information into ecological forecasts and identifying directions for future research.

Keywords

Daphnia, Eco-evolutionary dynamics, Harmful algal blooms, Invasive species, Phenotypic plasticity

Disciplines

Biology | Life Sciences

Comments

Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Biology Commons

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