For discussion of the diversity review (https://www.overleaf.com/read/tdhtyrfhhmsy)
Would computational evolutionary biology go under Evolutionary biology or Evolutionary computation?
Computer scientist here: What is the controversy between evolutionary biology and ecology that was referred to?
Just one small contribution: the study of critical mutation rates (which are relevent to allelic diversity and extinction) is very relevant, e.g. some of our papers: A. Channon, E. Aston, C. Day, R. V. Belavkin and C. G. Knight, Critical Mutation Rate Has an Exponential Dependence on Population Size, in Advances in Artificial Life, ECAL 2011: Proceedings of the Eleventh European Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, pp. 117-124, MIT Press, 2011. doi:10/m7m E. Aston, A. Channon, C. Day and C. G. Knight, Critical Mutation Rate Has an Exponential Dependence on Population Size in Haploid and Diploid Populations, PLOS ONE 8(12): e83438, 2013. doi:10/qqc E. Aston, A. Channon, R. V. Belavkin, R. Krasovec and C. G. Knight, Critical Mutation Rate has an Exponential Dependence on Population Size for Eukaryotic-Length Genomes, accepted for Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALife XV), 2016.
Great question @qiemem - if @zamanlh has a chance to elaborate at some point I'd be really curious.
Hi all, I would like to participate in this review!
Hey @qiemem, I didn't do a great job articulating the question. I'm not entirely sure how to delineate the two sides... they both are what I would evolutionary biologists. Basically, there is a group of more phylogenetically oriented researchers interested in explaining the distribution of species using what they call a "species pool" of potential inhabitants and place them in regions based on functional traits like climate tolerance... On the other side are biologists interested in understanding how one population spectated into multiple types. The big difference is that one group is interested in the mechanisms that produce species, and the other is interested in the mechanisms that determine where presumed extant species exist
The heated debate comes in when you ask them why species exist, not necessarily why they are distributed the way they are
@zamanlh - thanks for the explanation! Do you think that disconnect is partially because when you ask the evolutionary biologists why species exist, they assume you mean how did they come to be in the first place, whereas when you ask ecologists, they assume you mean how are they stably coexisting, just because those are the questions that they're each used to thinking about? Or is it a deeper thing (as in a lot of ecologists don't think speciation is a hard thing to have happen)?
I also think you may wish to look at temporal patterns of diversity. From looking at a phylogenetic tree, it's easy to have an initial impression that as time progresses, an extinction of a clade would do more to reduce diversity than it would earlier, as that clade will have developed more unique differences. But at a functional level, that may not be the case, as there are also new clades arising which may make one redundant now when it wasn't previously. Using an artificial life system, you can measure diversity both in the way that traditional genetic algorithm approaches do and the way that traditional evolutionary biology approaches do, and then determine in what way diversity changes through time and whether that depends on the way in which diversity is conceptualized.
I think that the question of speciation and community assembly are both relevant, and somewhat related, as speciation does i fluence community structure (meaning the collection of species, strains or genes that coexist in the community). Usia
Usually it is believed that speciation works at longer time scales than other community assembly processes.
In aquatic microbiology there is a long tradition of studies trying to explain coexistance of large number of species,
inspired by a paper by Hutchinson in the fifties, about what he calls "the paradox of the plankton", which is why there are much much species than limiting resources
As Emily pointed out, one main division in this area is between neutral theories vs. more mechanistical explainations of community assembly