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Phylogenetic Perspectives on Community Ecology

Jonathan B. Losos
Ecology
Vol. 77, No. 5 (Jul., 1996), pp. 1344-1354
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/2265532
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2265532
Page Count: 11
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Phylogenetic Perspectives on Community Ecology
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Abstract

Ecologists have long been interested in the differences that exist among communities. If species adapted rapidly and without constraint, and if any lineage could occur in any community, then we would expect differences in community structure to be indicative of environmental differences. Because lineages differ in their evolutionary potential and are geographically restricted, however, comparisons of community structure must take account of communities' histories. Phylogenetic information about the constituent lineages in a community can allow lineage effects to be factored out, thus allowing an assessment of environmental determinants of community structure. In addition, phylogenetic information permits understanding of how communities have evolved through time and suggests hypotheses that may be tested using extant communities. Methodological difficulties with the application of these methods to community ecological issues are also discussed.

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