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Data from: What invasive species reveal about the rate and form of contemporary phenotypic change in nature

Citation

Westley, Peter A. H. (2010), Data from: What invasive species reveal about the rate and form of contemporary phenotypic change in nature, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8078

Abstract

Biological invasions represent opportunities to gain insight into fundamental evolutionary questions as reproductive isolation and sudden changes in selection pressures are likely to lead to rapid evolutionary change. Here I investigate the role of invasive species in revealing the rate and form of contemporary phenotypic change in wild populations by expanding a database of over 5,500 rates of phenotypic change from 90 species of plants and animals. Invasive species are widely used as model organisms and thus contribute disproportionately to available rates of phenotypic change. However, the preponderance of these rates is the consequence of extensive study in a small number of species. I found mixed evidence to support the hypothesis that phenotypic change is associated with time depending on the metric of choice (i.e. darwins or haldanes). Insights from invasive and native species both provide evidence for abrupt phenotypic change and suggest a potentially important role of the environment to drive trait change in wild populations, though the environmental influence on the observed trajectories remains unclear. Thus future work should continue to seek an understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings –both genetic and environmental– of how phenotypic variation allows populations to adapt to rapidly changing global environments.

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