Biodiversity is higher in the tropics. Terrestrial productivity is higher in the tropics. The pace of life is faster in the tropics. Mountain passes are higher in the tropics. The tropics are just bigger, faster, and stronger. So what about eco-evolutionary dynamics? Are they stronger in the tropics? A recent trip to Panama provided the motivation to speculate on this possibility.
Early in the trip, I visited the famous research site of Barro Colorado Island (BCI), where I was able – with my family – to see howler monkeys and all sorts of other wonders. Back at the town of Gamboa a few days later, I was called on to give a lecture to the “tropical boot camp” class that included graduate students from the McGill-STRI NEO program, the STRI-Indiana IGERT program, and Arizona State University. I decided to give my boiler-plate talk outlining a conceptual framework for eco-evolutionary dynamics because I figured most of the students would be ecologists and it would perhaps be worthwhile to encourage them to include an evolutionary perspective into their ecological thinking.
|A leaf cutter ant in the clutches of an ant lion (zoom in for a better view of the lion).|
|Spooning is universal|
|Toads all over the place|
|A very big tarantula at our door asking to come in.|
More nature photos from the Panama trip are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrew_hendry/sets/72157632543426268/