Meeting Abstract

S7.2  Thursday, Jan. 6  Evolving Crustacean Metacommunities in Aquatic Ecosystems DERRY, A.M.; University of Quebec at Montreal

Heterogeneous landscapes provide reservoirs of genetic and community diversity in local habitats that experience environmental change if they are connected by dispersing genotypes and species. The metacommunity concept provides a spatially-implicit framework for understanding movement of individuals among habitat patches, and associated reciprocal interactions between evolution in populations and ecological interactions in communities (“eco-evolutionary interactions”). Contemporary evolution resulting from adaptive diversity across landscape gradients can occur on ecological timescales (decades). An emerging area of research investigates how contemporary evolution interacts with ecological processes in communities and ecosystems. Crustaceans are an important taxonomic group for energy flow in aquatic ecosystems because they are an intermediate link between primary producers and fish. Because of this central trophic position in aquatic food webs, I argue that metacommunities of crustacean plankton can provide insight into reciprocal relationships between ecology and evolution. First, I summarize our general understanding of the relationship between community and genetic diversity. Secondly, I introduce mechanisms and evidence for contemporary evolution in freshwater crustacean populations. Thirdly, I outline approaches for studying extended effects of evolution in aquatic crustacean populations on communities and ecosystems. Finally, implications of eco-evolutionary interactions in crustacean metacommunities for biodiversity and conservation are discussed.