Unifying ecology and macroevolution with individual-based theory.
Bottom Line: We show that this model generates realistic phylogenies showing a slowdown in diversification and also improves on the ecological predictions of neutral theory by explaining the occurrence of very common species.Moreover, we find the distribution of individual fitness changes over time, with average fitness increasing at a pace that depends positively on community size.Consequently, large communities tend to produce fitter species than smaller communities.
Affiliation: Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK.Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus
Mentions: Simulations of our model show a tight distribution of incipient species fitness (Fig.3a) with a standard deviation that rarely exceeds one fitness category (Fig.4c, d). Individuals thus have similar fitness compared to others alive simultaneously in the same community. As time passes, however, the distribution of fitness categories moves (Fig.3a, b), allowing species to be very different to those alive a long time ago, whereas the shape of the fitness distribution remains relatively constant. The rate at which the modal fitness category progresses is not subject to much variation, even though the model is stochastic (Fig.3b).
Affiliation: Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, SL5 7PY, UK.