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Over the past decade, ecologists have increasingly embraced phylogenetics, the study of evolutionary relationships among species. As a result, they have come to discover the field's power to illuminate present ecological patterns and processes. Ecologists are now investigating whether phylogenetic diversity is a better measure of ecosystem health than more traditional metrics like species diversity, whether it can predict the future structure and function of communities and ecosystems, and whether conservationists might prioritize it when formulating conservation plans.
In Phylogenetic Ecology, Nathan G. Swenson synthesizes this nascent field's major conceptual, methodological, and empirical developments to provide students and practicing ecologists with a foundational overview. Along the way, he highlights those realms of phylogenetic ecology that will likely increase in relevance – such as the burgeoning subfield of phylogenomics – and shows how ecologists might lean on these new perspectives to inform their research programs.
1. Introduction and a Brief Phylogenetics Primer
2. Phylogenetic Nonindependence, Comparative Ecology, and Phylogenetic Conservatism
3. The Measurement of Phylogenetic Diversity
4. Community Assembly: Phylogenies as a Proxy
5. Community Assembly: Phylogenies as a Backbone
6. Global Patterns of Biodiversity, Diversification, Conservatism, and Priority
7. Functional Phylogenomics for Ecology
8. Building Trees for Every System and Scale and Biodiversity Informatics
9. Conclusions and Remodeling Phylogenetic Ecology
Nathan G. Swenson is professor of biology and director of the Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics (BEES) Graduate Concentration Area at the University of Maryland. He is the author of Functional and Phylogenetic Ecology in R and a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in plant sciences.