Detecting the macroevolutionary signal of species interactions

Luke J. Harmon, Cecilia S. Andreazzi, Florence Débarre, Jonathan Drury, Emma E. Goldberg, Ayana B. Martins, Carlos J. Melián, Anita Narwani, Scott L. Nuismer, Matthew W. Pennell, Seth M. Rudman, Ole Seehausen, Daniele Silvestro, Marjorie Weber, Blake Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Species interactions lie at the heart of many theories of macroevolution, from adaptive radiation to the Red Queen. Although some theories describe the imprint that interactions will have over long timescales, we are still missing a comprehensive understanding of the effects of interactions on macroevolution. Current research shows strong evidence for the impact of interactions on macroevolutionary patterns of trait evolution and diversification, yet many macroevolutionary studies have only a tenuous relationship to ecological studies of interactions over shorter timescales. We review current research in this area, highlighting approaches that explicitly model species interactions and connect them to broad-scale macroevolutionary patterns. We also suggest that progress has been made by taking an integrative interdisciplinary look at individual clades. We focus on African cichlids as a case study of how this approach can be fruitful. Overall, although the evidence for species interactions shaping macroevolution is strong, further work using integrative and model-based approaches is needed to spur progress towards understanding the complex dynamics that structure communities over time and space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)769-782
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of evolutionary biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Eawag for hosting the workshop and the Swiss National Science Foundation for funding through International Exploratory Workshop ?Interactions on Trees? (IZ32Z0_166422) to CM, BM and OS. BM was supported by SNF grant 31003A_153464. DS received funding from the Swedish Research Council (2015-04748) and from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. SLN is funded by NSF DEB 1450653; LJH is funded by NSF DEB 1208912. FD is funded by ANR grant ANR-14-ACHN-0003-01. OS was supported by SNF grant 31003A_163338.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2019 European Society For Evolutionary Biology


  • coevolution
  • extinction
  • macroevolution
  • network
  • phylogeny
  • speciation
  • species interactions
  • trait evolution


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