Ecology as the link between evolvability, development, and macroevolution: a case study using wing and body morphology of Odonata
by Masahito Tsuboi | Lund University
Abstract ID: 57
Event: The 3rd AsiaEvo Conference
Topic: Evolvability: a common currency of evolution, ecology and development
Presenter Name: Masahiti Tsuboi

Understanding causal and explanatory mechanism of phenotypic diversity across the tree of life is a common goal of ecology, evolutionary biology, and developmental biology. Although recent advancements in the concept of evolvability clarified how this goal may be achieved through strategic and interdisciplinary collaborations among related but distinct subfields of biological sciences, the role of ecology–research of the relationships among living organisms and their physical environments–remains unclear. In my talk, I will begin with a proposal of the place of ecology in evolvability research program from the vantage point of evolvability in quantitative genetics. Through a literature survey and schematic illustration of the geometry of moving adaptive landscape, I will argue that the task of ecologists is to identify causes of variation in natural and sexual selection, preferably in natural habitats of living organisms. Subsequently, using wing morphology and body size in two species of damselflies (Ischnura elegans and Enallagma cyathigerum) as the model case, I will illustrate how we can empirically go about with this research program through a combination of field work and experiment anchored by quantitative genetic theories. To conclude, evolvability framework offers opportunities to weave ecology into evolutionary and developmental biology. Yet, there are empirical and conceptual challenges when translating ecological insights into causal and explanatory mechanisms of biodiversity. I would like to discuss these issues both as part of my talk and as a general theme of the symposium with contributors and the audience.