Evolutionary Change in Human-altered Environments
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.
CTR and the Institute of Environment and Sustainability sponsored an international summit in February 2007 to discuss the effects of human activity on climate change, habitat degradation, captive breeding and exploitation, and invasive species and pathogens. The journal Molecular Ecology published the papers presented by more than 40 prominent biologists at the summit in its January 3, 2008 Special Issue. Click here to view the Special Issue online and the summit presentations.
A Special Issue of the journal of Evolutionary Applications,published in March 2011, contains 16 articles by CTR researchers and other evolutionary biologists on "Interdisciplinary Solutions to Evolutionary Challenges in Food, Health and the Environment". Click here to view the Special Issue of Evolutionary Applications.
For additional information on ongoing evolutionary changes, see the website for the Institute for Contemporary Evolution. The Institute builds awareness of contemporary evolution, and promotes evolutionary applications in conservation biology, medicine, and agriculture.
|2014||Smith TB, Kinnison MT, Straus SY, Fuller TL, Carrol SP. Prescriptive evolution to conserve and manage biodiversity. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 45:1.1-1.22. doi:10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-120213-091747|
|2014||Harrigan R, Thomassen H, Buermann W, Smith TB. A continental risk assessment of West Nile virus under climate change. Global Change Biology doi:10.1111/gcb.12534|
|2013||Smith, T.B., R. Harrigan, A. Kirsche, W. Buermann, S. Saatchi, D. Blumstein, S. de Kort, H. Slabbekoorn. Predicting birdsong from space. Evolutionary Applications. DOI: 10.1111/eva.12072. PDF|
|2013||Thomassen, H.A., T. Fuller, S. Asefi-Najafabady, J.A.G. Shiplacoff, P.M. Mulembakani, S.C. Johnston, N.K. Kisalu, T.K. Lutete, S. Blumberg, J.N. Fair, N.D. Wolfe, R.K. Shongo, M. LeBreton, H. Meyer, L.L. Wright, J. Muyembe, W. Buermann, E. Okitolonda, L.E. Hensley, J.O. Lloyd-Smight, T.B. Smith, A.W. Rimoin. Pathogen-host associations and predicted range shifts of human monkeypox in response to climate change in Central Africa. PLoS ONE 8(7): e66071. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066071 PDF|
|2012||Fuller, T., S. Bensch, I. Muller, J. Novembre, J. Perez-Tris, R.E. Ricklefs, T.B. Smith, J. Waldenstrom. The ecology of emerging infectious diseases in migratory birds: an assessment of the role of climate change and priorities for future research. EcoHealth 9: 80-88. PDF|
|2012||Hosseini P.R., T. Fuller, R. Harrigan, D. Zhao, C.S. Arriola, et al. (2013) Metapopulation Dynamics Enable Persistence of Influenza A, Including A/H5N1, in Poultry. PLoS ONE 8(12): e80091. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080091 PDF|
|2012||Loiseau, C., R.J. Harrigan, A. Robert, R.C.K. Bowie, H.A. Thomassen, T.B. Smith, R.N.M. Sehgal. Host and habitat specialization of avian malaria in Africa. Molecular Ecology 21: 431-441 PDF|
|2011||Buermann, W. J. A. Chaves, R. Dudley, J. A. Mcguire, T. B. Smith, and D. L. Altshuler. Projected changes in elevational distribution and flight performance of montane Neotropical hummingbirds in response to climate change. Global Change Biology 17: 1671-1680. PDF|
|2011||Thomassen, H. A., T. Fuller, W. Buermann, B. Milá, C. M. Kieswetter, P. Jarrín-V., S. E. Cameron, E. Mason, R. Schweizer, J. Schlunegger, J. Chan, O. Wang, M. Peralvo, C. J. Schneider, C. H. Graham, J. P. Pollinger, S. Saatchi, R. K. Wayne, and T. B. Smith. Mapping evolutionary process: a multi-taxa approach to conservation prioritization. Evolutionary Applications 4: 397-413. PDF|
|2011||Fuller, T. H. A. Thomassen, P. M. Mulembakani, S. C. Johnston, J. O. Lloyd-Smith, N. K. Kisalu, T. K. Lutete, S. Blumberg, J. N. Fair, N. D. Wolfe, R. L. Shongo, P. Formenty, H. Meyer, L. L. Wright, J.-J. Muyembe, W. Buermann, S. S. Saatchi, E. Okitolonda, L. Hensley, T. B. Smith, and A. W. Rimoin. Using remote sensing to map the risk of human monkeypox virus in the Congo Basin. EcoHealth. doi: 10.1007/s10393-010-0355-5. PDF|
|2011||Hendry, A. P., M. T. Kinnison, M. Heino, T. Day, T. B. Smith, G. Fitt, C. Bergstrom, J. Oakeshott, P. S. Jørgensen, M. Zalucki, S. Southerton, A. Sih, R. F. Denison, and S. P. Carroll. Evolutionary principles and their practical application. Evolutionary Applications 4: 159-183. PDF|
|2011||Marnocha, E., J. Pollinger, And T. B. Smith. Human-Induced morphological shifts in an island lizard. Evolutionary Applications 4: 388-396. PDF|
|2011||Laurance W. F., D. C. Useche, L. P. Shoo, S. K. Herzog, M. Kessler, F. Escobar, G. Brehm, J. C. Axmacher, I. C. Chen, L. A. Gámez, P. Hietz, K. Fiedler, T. Pyrcz, J. Wolf, C. L. Merkord, C. Cardelus, A. R. Marshall, C. Ah-Peng, G. H. Aplet, M. del Coro Arizmendi, W. J. Baker, J. Barone, C. A. Brühl, R.W. Bussmann, D. Cicuzza, G. Eilu, M. E. Favila, P. Hietz, A. Hemp, C. Hemp, J. Homeier, R. B. Huey, J. Hurtado, J. Jankowski, G. Kattán, J. Kluge, T. Krömer, D. Lees, M. Lehnert, J. T. Longino, J. Lovett, P. H. Martin, B. D. Patterson, R. G. Pearson, K. S.-H. Peh, B. Richardson, M. Richardson, M. Samways, F. Senbeta, T. B. Smith, T. Utteridge, J. E. Watkins, R. Wilson, S. E. Williams, and C. D. Thomas. Global warming, elevational ranges and the vulnerability of tropical biota. Biological Conservation 144: 548-557. PDF|
|2010||Freedman, A. H., Buermann, W, Mitchard, E. T. A., DeFries, R. S., and T. B. Smith. Human impacts flatten rainforest savanna gradient and reduce adaptive diversity in a rainforest bird. PLoS ONE 5: e13088. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013088. PDF|
|2010||Harrigan, R. J., H. A. Thomassen, W. Buermann, R. F. Cummings, M. E. Kahn, and T. B. Smith. Economic conditions predict prevalence of West Nile virus. PLoS ONE 5: e15437. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015437. PDF|
|2009||Chasar, A., C. Loiseau, G, Valkiūnas, T. Iezhova, T. B. Smith, and R. N. M. Sehgal. Prevalence and diversity patterns of avian blood parasites in degraded African rainforest habitats. Molecular Ecology 18: 4121-4133. PDF|
|2009||Kirschel, A. N. G., D. T. Blumstein, and T. B. Smith. Character displacement of song and morphology in African tinkerbirds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 8256-8261. PDF|
|2009||Freedman, A. H., W. Buermann, M. LeBreton, L. Chirio, and T. B. Smith. Modeling the effects of anthropogenic habitat change on savanna snake invasions into African rainforest. Conservation Biology 23: 81-92. PDF|
|2008||Smith, T. B., and G. Grether. The importance of conserving evolutionary processes. Pages 85-98. In S. P. Carroll and C.W. Fox (Eds.). Conservation Biology: Evolution in Action. Oxford University Press, Oxford. PDF|
|2008||Smith, T. B., B. Milá, G. F. Grether, H. Slabbekoorn, I. Sepil, W. Buermann, S. Saatchi, J. P. and Pollinger. Evolutionary consequences of human disturbance in a rainforest bird species from central Africa. Molecular Ecology 17: 58-71. PDF|
|2008||Smith, T. B., and L. Bernatchez. Preface to the Special Issue. Evolutionary change in human-altered environments. Molecular Ecology.17: 1-8. PDF|
|2008||Evolutionary change in human-altered environments (T. B. Smith and L. Bernatchez, eds.) Molecular Ecology 17, 1-499. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.2008.17.issue-1/issuetoc|
|2007||Wang, B. C., V. L. Sork, M. T. Leong, and T. B. Smth. Hunting of mammals reduces seed removal and dispersal of the Afrotropical tree, Antrocaryon klaineanum (Anacardiaceae). Biotropica 39: 340-347. PDF|
|2005||Smith, T. B., S. Saatchi, C. Graham, H. Slabbekoorn, and G. Spicer. Putting process on the map: why ecotones are important for preserving biodiversity. Pages 166-197. In A. Purvis, J. Gittleman, and T. Brooks (Eds.). Phylogeny and Conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom. PDF|
|2005||Graham, C. H., T. B. Smith, and M. Languy. Current and historical factors influencing patterns of species richness and turnover of birds in the Gulf of Guinea highlands. Journal of Biogeography 32: 1371-1384. PDF|
|1995||Smith, T. B., L. A. Freed, J. K. Lepson, and J. H. Carothers. Evolutionary consequences of extinctions in populations of a Hawaiian honeycreeper. Conservation Biology 9: 107-113. PDF|
|1993||Smith, T. B., M. W. Bruford, and R. K. Wayne. The preservation of process: the missing element of conservation programs. Biodiversity Letters 1: 164-167. PDF|