Environmental Heterogeneity: Temporal and Spatial


Environments experienced by living organisms can be heterogeneous in a variety of ways. Variation in time and in space have distinct consequences for the fitness of plants and animals, and elicit different types of evolutionary responses through natural selection.

Keywords: phenotypic plasticity; genetic polymorphism; habitat selection; genetic diversity

Figure 1.

The common structure of Dempster's and Levene's models. A random‐mating population is split into two patches, where each genotype (one locus, two alleles) is characterized by a distinct fitness (different between the two patches). A new random‐mating population is then generated and the process starts all over again. The major difference between the two submodels is that Dempster's uses absolute fitness (hard selection), while Levene's uses relative fitness (soft selection) (not shown – see text for discussion).



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Further Reading

Bell G (1992) Five properties of environments. In: Grant PR and Horn HS (eds) Molds, Molecules, and Metazoa, pp. 33–56. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Brodie III ED, Moore AJ and Janzen FJ (1995) Visualizing and quantifying natural selection. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 10: 313–318.

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Maynard Smith J (1989) Evolutionary Genetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ridley M (1996) Evolution. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Schlichting CD (1986) The evolution of phenotypic plasticity in plants. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 17: 667–693.

Schlichting CD and Pigliucci M (1998) Phenotypic Evolution: A Reaction Norm Perspective. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.

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Pigliucci, Massimo(Apr 2001) Environmental Heterogeneity: Temporal and Spatial. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001766]