Meeting Abstract

S1-5  Friday, Jan. 4 09:30 - 10:00  Plant Evolutionary Ecology In The Age Of The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis OLSON, Mark E. ; Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México

Plant ecology is increasingly turning to evolutionary questions, just as evolutionary biology pushes out of the strictures of the Modern Synthesis into what some regard as an “Extended” Synthesis. As plant ecology becomes increasingly evolutionary, it is essential to examine how aspects of the Extended Synthesis might impinge on plant ecological theory and practice. I examine the potential of niche construction theory, developmental systems theory, and genes-as-followers adaptive evolution in providing novel perspectives for plant evolutionary ecology. I also examine the implications of overcoming dichotomies such as genetic vs plastic, biotic vs abiotic, genotype vs phenotype, and constraint vs adaptation, and how shedding these traditional false dichotomies provides fertile opportunities for plant evolutionary ecologists. Along the same lines, outgrowing vague concepts such as “stress” and “constraint” and replacing them with more precise terminology in all cases provides vastly increased causal clarity. As a result, the synthetic path that plant ecologists are blazing, becoming more evolutionary every year, bodes extremely well for the field, with vast potential for expansion into important scientific territory.