A great challenge for ecology in the coming decades is to understand the role humans play in eco‐evolutionary dynamics. If, as emerging evidence shows, rapid evolutionary change aﬀects ecosystem functioning and stability, current rapid environmental change and its evolutionary eﬀects might have signiﬁcant implications for ecological and human well-being on a relatively short time scale. Humans are major selective agents with potential for unprecedented evolutionary consequences for Earth’s ecosystems, especially as cities expand rapidly. In this review, I identify emerging hypotheses on how urbanization drives eco-evolutionary dynamics. Studying how human-‐driven micro-‐evolutionary changes interact with ecological processes oﬀers the chance to advance understanding of eco-evolutionary feedbacks and will provide new insights for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function over the long term.
A full description of this research can be found in:
Alber6, M. (2015) Eco-evolutionary dynamics in an urbanizing planet. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 30 (2):114-126.
Key human drivers of change (e.g., climate, demographics, economics, and policy) inﬂuence eco-evolutionary dynamics through interactions between human, natural, and built system components of the urban ecosystem through a series of subtle mechanisms.
Emerging mechanisms of how urbanization drives eco-evolutionary dynamics include: Habitat change (structure and processes), biotic interactions, heterogeneity, novel disturbances, and social interactions.
Urban Drivers of Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics