Evolutionary Change in Human-altered Environments

Region:

Africa (Cameroon), South America (Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela)

With the global human population reaching seven billion in 2011, human impacts are causing changes in the evolutionary processes underlying and maintaining diversity. The average rate of loss for animal and plant populations and their habitats is estimated to be 1% annually, with two-thirds of the world's terrestrial land area now devoted directly to supporting human populations, either through agriculture, fisheries, urbanization, or infrastructure. As a consequence of these impacts, we are witnessing a global, but unplanned, evolutionary experiment with the biotic diversity of the planet. Growing empirical evidence indicates that human-induced evolutionary changes impact every corner of the globe. Such changes are occurring rapidly, even at the level of a human lifespan, bear huge economical costs and pose serious threats to both humans and the biodiversity of the planet. Evolutionary phenomena, such as industrial melanism in the peppered moth (Biston betularia) — a classical example of rapid evolution driven by humans once considered atypical — are now becoming commonplace. The Center for Tropical Research is leading several research efforts to understand how humans are changing evolutionary processes.

Related Publications

2014
Lauron, E. J.; Loiseau, C.; Bowie, R. C.; Spicer, G. S.; Smith, T. B.; Melo, M.; Sehgal, R. N. Coevolutionary patterns and diversification of avian malaria parasites in African Sunbirds (Family Nectariniidae). Parasitology 2014; DOI 10.1017/S0031182014001681.
2014
Carroll, S. P.; Jørgensen, P. S.; Kinnison, M. T.; Bergstrom, C. T.; Denison, R. F.; Gluckman, P.; Smith, T. B.; Strauss, S. Y.; Tabashnik, B. E. Applying evolutionary biology to address global challenges. Science 2014, 346; DOI 10.1126/science.1245993.
2014
Harrigan, R. J.; Thomassen, H.; Buermann, W.; Smith, T. B. A continental risk assessment of West Nile virus under climate change. Global Change Biology 2014, 20 (8), 2417–2425; DOI 10.1111/gcb.12534.
2013
Thomassen, H. A.; Fuller, T. L.; Asefi-Najafabady, S.; Shiplacoff, J. A.; Mulembakani, P. M.; Blumberg, S.; Johnston, S. C.; Kisalu, N. K.; Kinkela, T. L.; fair, J. N.; Wolfe, N. D.; Shongo, R. L.; LeBreton, M.; Meyer, H.; Wright, L. L.; Muyembe, J.; Buermann, W.; Okitolonda, E.; Hensley, L. E.; Lloyd-Smith, J. O.; Smith, T. B.; Rimoin, A. W. Pathogen-host associations and predicted range shifts of human Monkeypox in response to climate change in Central Africa. PLOS ONE 2013, 8 (7); DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0066071. PDF
2013
Smith, T. B.; Harrigan, R. J.; Kirschel, A. N.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S.; Blumstein, D. T.; de Kort, S. R.; Slabbekoorn, H. Predicting bird song from space. Evolutionary Applications 2013, 865–874; DOI 10.1111/eva.12072. PDF
2012
Fuller, T.; Bensch, S.; Muller, I.; Novembre, J.; Perez-Tris, J.; Ricklefs, R. E.; Smith, T. B.; Waldenstrom, J. The ecology of emerging infectious diseases in migratory birds: an assessment of the role of climate change and priorities for future research. EcoHealth 2012, 9, 80–88. PDF
2012
Hosseini, P. R.; Fuller, T.; Harrigan, R.; Zhao, D.; Arriola, C. S.; Gonzales, A.; Miller, M. J.; Xiao, X.; Smith, T. B.; Holland Jones, J.; Daszak, P. Metapopulation dynamics enable persistence of Influenza A, including A/H5N1, in poultry. PLoS ONE 2012, 8 (12); DOI 10.1371/annotation/4de9438b-646c-4efd-bf12-62a9baa301e2. PDF
2011
Thomassen, H. A.; Fuller, T.; Buermann, W.; Milá, B.; Kieswetter, C.; Jarrín-V, P.; Cameron, S. E.; Mason, E.; Schweizer, R.; Schlunegger, J.; Chan, J.; Wang, O.; Peralvo, M.; Schneider, C. J.; Graham, C. H.; Pollinger, J. P.; Saatchi, S.; Wayne, R. K.; Smith, T. B. Mapping evolutionary process: a multi-taxa approach to conservation prioritization. Evolutionary Applications 2011, 4, 397–413. PDF
2011
Fuller, T. H.; Thomassen, H. A.; Mulembakani, P. M.; Johnston, S. S.; Lloyd-Smith, J. O.; Kisalu, N. K.; Lutete, T. K.; Blumberg, S.; Fair, J. N.; Wolfe, N. D.; Shongo, R. L.; Formenty, P.; Meyer, H.; Wright, L. L.; Muhembe, J.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S. S.; Okitolonda, E.; Hensley, L.; Smith, T. B.; Rimoin, A. W. Using remote sensing to map the risk of human monkeypox virus int he Congo Basin. EcoHealth 2011; DOI 10.1007/s10393-010-0355-5. PDF
2011
Hendry, A. P.; Kinnison, M. T.; Heino, M.; Day, T.; Smith, T. B.; Fitt, G.; Bergstrom, C.; Oakeshott, J.; Jørgensen, P. S.; Zalucki, M.; Southerton, S.; Sih, A.; Denison, R. F.; Carroll, S. P. Evolutionary principles and their practical application. Evolutionary Application 2011, 4, 159–183. PDF
2011
Marnocha, E.; Pollinger, J.; Smith, T. B. Human-induced morphological shifts in an island lizard. Evolutionary Applications 2011, 4, 388–396. PDF
2010
Freedman, A. H.; Buermann, W.; Mitchard, E. T.; DeFries, R. S.; Smith, T. B. Human impacts flatten rainforest-savanna gradient and reduce adaptive diversity in a rainforest bird. PLOS ONE 2010, 5; DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0013088. PDF
2009
Freedman, A. H.; Buermann, W.; LeBreton, M.; Chirio, L.; Smith, T. B. Modeling the effects of anthropogenic habitat change on savanna snake invasions into African rainforest. Conservation Biology 2009, 23. PDF
2009
Chasar, A.; Loiseau, C.; Valkiūnas, G.; Iezhova, T.; Smith, T. B.; Sehgal, R. N. Prevalence and diversity patterns of avian blood parasites in degraded African rainforest habitats. Molecular Ecology 2009, 18, 4121–4133. PDF
2009
Kirschel, A. N.; Blumstein, D. T.; Smith, T. B. Character displacement of song and morphology in African tinkerbirds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2009, 106, 8256–8261. PDF
2008
Smith, T. B.; Milá, B.; Grether, G. F.; Slabbekoorn, H.; Sepil, I.; Buermann, W.; Saatchi, S.; Pollinger, J. P. Evolutionary consequences of human disturbance in a rainforest bird species from central Africa. Molecular Ecology 2008, 17, 58–71. PDF
2008
Smith, T. B.; Grether, G. The importance of conserving evolutionary processes. In Conservation Biology: Evolution in Action; Carroll, S. P., Fox, C. W., Eds.; Oxford University Press: 2008; pp 85–98. PDF
2008
Smith, T. B.; Bernatchez, L. Preface to the special issue: Evolutionary change in human-altered environments. Molecular Ecology 2008, 17, 1–8; DOI 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03607.x.
2007
Wang, B. C.; Sork, V. L.; Leong, M. T.; Smith, T. B. Hunting of mammals reduced seed removal and dispersal of the Afrotropical tree, Antrocaryon klaineanum (Anacardiaceae). Biotropica 2007, 39, 340–347. PDF
2005
Smith, T. B.; Saatchi, S.; Slabbekoorn, C.; Slabbekoorn, H.; Spicer, G. Putting process on the map: Why ecotones are important for preserving biodiversity. Phylogeny and Conservation 2005. PDF
2005
Smith, C. H.; Smith, T. B.; Languy, M. Current and historical factors influencing patterns of species richness and turnover of birds in the Gulf of Guinea highlands. Journal of Biogeography 2005, 32, 1371–1384. PDF
1995
Smith, T. B.; Freed, L. A.; Lepson, J. K.; Carothers, J. H. Evolutionary consequences of extinctions in populations of a Hawaiian honeycreeper. Conservation Biology 1995, 9, 107–113. PDF
1993
Smith, T. B.; Bruford, M. W.; Wayne, R. K. The preservation of process: the missing element of conservation programs. In Biodiversity Letters; : 1993; pp 164–167. PDF

CTR Bird

Center for Tropical Research | UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
La Kretz Hall, Suite 300 | 619 Charles E. Young Dr. East | Los Angeles, CA 90095-1496

The Center for Tropical Research, located on the third floor of La Kretz Hall, is part of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. For general inquiries, contact Christa Gomez, CTR Office Manager, at (310) 206-6234, or by email at cgomez@lifesci.ucla.edu. Visitors are always welcome.

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