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New Avenues for Old Travellers: Phenotypic Evolutionary Trends Meet Morphodynamics, and Both Enter the Global Change Biology Era

Tamagnini, D, Canestrelli, D, Meloro, C, Raia, P and Maiorano, L (2021) New Avenues for Old Travellers: Phenotypic Evolutionary Trends Meet Morphodynamics, and Both Enter the Global Change Biology Era. Evolutionary Biology. ISSN 0071-3260

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Evolutionary trends (ETs) are traditionally defined as substantial changes in the state of traits through time produced by a persistent condition of directional evolution. ETs might also include directional responses to ecological, climatic or biological gradients and represent the primary evolutionary pattern at high taxonomic levels and over long-time scales. The absence of a well-supported operative definition of ETs blurred the definition of conceptual differences between ETs and other key concepts in evolution such as convergence, parallel evolution, and divergence. Also, it prevented the formulation of modern guidelines for studying ETs and evolutionary dynamics related to them. In phenotypic evolution, the theory of morphodynamics states that the interplay between evolutionary factors such as phylogeny, evo-devo constraints, environment, and biological function determines morphological evolution. After introducing a new operative definition, here we provide a morphodynamics-based framework for studying phenotypic ETs, discussing how understanding the impact of these factors on ETs improves the explanation of links between biological patterns and processes underpinning directional evolution. We envisage that adopting a quantitative, pattern-based, and multifactorial approach will pave the way to new potential applications for this field of evolutionary biology. In this framework, by exploiting the catalysing effect of climate change on evolution, research on ETs induced by global change might represent an ideal arena for validating hypotheses about the predictability of evolution.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0603 Evolutionary Biology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2021 10:55
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2021 10:55
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s11692-021-09545-x
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15459
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