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The fusion of behavioral ecology and ecology


  • Deborah M. Gordon


Behavioral ecology and ecology have projects in common. Community ecology can provide behavioral ecology with the tools to ask realistic questions about the current action of natural selection. Evolutionary ecology has moved beyond asking "Why does trait x contribute to reproductive success?" and on to "What are the conditions under which trait x contributes to reproductive success?" We need to bring this ecological perspective to the study of the evolution of behavior. Community ecologists have recognized that behavior influences ecological outcomes. For example, behavior contributes to the effect of history on community assembly, to indirect effects in predator--prey interactions, and to the responses of populations to human disturbance. More generally, behavior is often the source of context dependence; behavioral responses in different conditions lead to different ecological outcomes. As community ecology is broadening to include behavior, behavioral ecologists can begin to incorporate ecological perspectives in asking evolutionary questions. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Deborah M. Gordon, 2011. "The fusion of behavioral ecology and ecology," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(2), pages 225-230.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:2:p:225-230

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    Cited by:

    1. Vicente García-Navas & Esperanza S. Ferrer & Javier Bueno-Enciso & Rafael Barrientos & Juan José Sanz & Joaquín Ortego, 2014. "Extrapair paternity in Mediterranean blue tits: socioecological factors and the opportunity for sexual selection," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 25(1), pages 228-238.
    2. Noa Pinter-Wollman & Deborah M. Gordon & Susan Holmes, 2012. "Nest site and weather affect the personality of harvester ant colonies," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 23(5), pages 1022-1029.

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