This website presents animations and computer code associated with the book Evolutionary Community Ecology by Mark A. McPeek published by Princeton University Press in 2017.
The goal of this book is to develop a unified framework for understanding the structure of ecological communities, the dynamics of natural selection that shape the evolution of the species inhabiting those communities, and the speciation and biogeographic processes that introduce new species to communities. Consequently, this book synthesizes the ecological and evolutionary dynamics generated by species interactions to structure both local biological communities and regional metacommunities.
All species engage in interactions with many other species, and these interactions regulate their abundances, define their trajectories of natural selection, and shape their movement decisions among different communities.
This book first explores the ecological performance characteristics needed for invasibility and coexistence of species in complex networks of species interactions. This species interaction framework is then extended to explore the ecological dynamics of natural selection that drives coevolution of interacting species in these complex interaction networks.
These models of natural selection resulting from species interactions are then used to evaluate the ecological conditions that foster ecological diversification at multiple trophic levels. These analyses show that diversification depends on both the ecological context in which species interactions occur and the types of traits that define the mechanisms of those species interactions.
The evolution of dispersal rates in metacommunities and the consequences of different movement strategies to local adaptation are explored. If the dispersal strategies of species can sufficiently adapt, dispersal among communities will have little or no effect on local community structure. Dispersal only becomes important when species\' dispersal strategies are quite different from what natural selection would favor.
Finally, the mechanisms of speciation that affect species richness and diversity at various spatial scales and the consequences of past climate change over the Quaternary period are explored to consider how metacommunity structure is shaped at regional and biogeographic scales.
Under the Isoclines menu, you will find interactive apps of various isoclines configurations presented in chapter 2. These apps allow you to set parameters of the models, show you how the isocline shapes and positions change as the parameters change, and allow you to determine the resulting abundance dynamics of the community for the species starting at any abundances.
Under the Animations menu, you will find animations of the coevolution of various species combinations. These animations present the full dynamics underlying many of the static figures in chapters 3 and 5. These animations present the trajectories of abundance and trait dynamcis as well as show how the shapes of abundance isoclines and fitness landscapes as the ecological dynamics of natural selection proceeds.
Most of the models presented in chapters 3, 5, and 6 are not analytically tractable, and so I used numerical simulations of various community module types and trait types to explore these models. Under the Matlab menu, you will find the various Matlab scripts that code these models throughout the book.