Thursday, December 8, 2011

One from the Vault - Whither Adaptation?

I just attended the openning of the 2011 symposium of Andy's Gonzalez's Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science ( Michael Donoghue gave a cool keynote talk to start things off about the importance of studying and understanding both rapid and slow evolution if we are to confront the current biodiversity crisis. This blog will have more to say about the meeting in a future post but something prompted me to do a quick post starting a new "One from the Vault" series.

Blogs like this one tend to focus on new events and papers but it is fun to dig up old ones too. This new "One From the Vault" series will highlight older papers both from our lab and from other researchers. The current installment - Whither Adaptation? - was inspired by Andy's comment when we met after Michael's talk that he was amazed that Michael had mentioned the two of us in the same sentence. The surprise was that our views are often so different that it would seem unlikely that we would be lumped together under a common theme. But it did happen one other time ...

Whither adaptation?

by: Andrew P. Hendry and Andrew Gonzalez*

Abstract: The two authors of this paper have diametrically opposed views of the prevalence and strength of adaptation in nature. Hendry believes that adaptation can be seen almost everywhere and that evidence for it is overwhelming and ubiquitous. Gonzalez believes that adaptation is uncommon and that evidence for it is ambiguous at best. Neither author is certifiable to the knowledge of the other, leaving each to wonder where the other has his head buried. Extensive argument has revealed that each author thinks his own view is amply supported by both theory and empirical evidence. Further reflection has revealed that the differences in opinion may start with the different disciplines in which we work: evolutionary ecology for Hendry and community ecology for Gonzalez. In the present paper, we each present devastating evidence supporting our own position and thus refuting that of the other. We then identify the critical differences that led to such opposing views. We close by combining our two perspectives into a common framework based on the adaptive landscape, and thereby suggest means by which to assess the prevalence and strength of adaptation.

*Each author thinks the other contributed less

Hendry, A.P., and A. Gonzalez. 2008. Whither adaptation? Biology and Philosophy 23:673-699.

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