loading page

Breaking down the wall between ecology and evolution
  • Michel Loreau,
  • Philippe Jarne,
  • Jennifer Martiny
Michel Loreau
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Philippe Jarne
Author Profile
Jennifer Martiny
University of California Irvine
Author Profile


Despite their close links, ecology and evolution have remained separate disciplines to this day. Breaking down the wall between the two disciplines is essential for at least two reasons. First, this wall is an obstacle to the study of most microorganisms, which constitute a large part of the Earth's biodiversity. Asexual reproduction, gene transfer and the lack of a clear definition of the species taxonomic level blur the distinction between ecological changes in species abundances and evolutionary changes in genotype frequencies in microbes. Second, a key question that biodiversity science will have to address in the coming decades is how ecological systems will cope with rapid environmental change. Generalising the concept of adaptation across multiple timescales and levels of organisation would provide an integrative framework for studying the combined ecological and evolutionary responses to environmental change, and thus help us to address one the major scientific challenges of our time.