Evolution in Changing Environments: Some Theoretical Explorations
Professor Levins, one of the leading explorers in the field of integrated population biology, considers the mutual interpenetration and joint evolution of organism and environment, occurring on several levels at once. Physiological and behavioral adaptations to short-term fluctuations of the environment condition the responses of populations to long-term changes and geographic gradients. These in turn affect the way species divide the environments among themselves in communities, and, therefore, the numbers of species which can coexist. Environment is treated here abstractly as pattern: patchiness, variability, range, etc. Populations are studied in their patterns: local heterogeneity, geographic variability, faunistic diversity, etc.