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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Four Central Points About Coevolution

  • Author(s): Thompson, John N.
  • et al.

Much of evolution is about the coevolution of species with each other. In recent years, we have learned that coevolution is much more pervasive, dynamic, and relentless than we previously thought. There are four central points about coevolution that we should teach the next generation of students to help them understand the importance of the coevolutionary process in shaping the web of life. (1) Complex organisms require coevolved interactions to survive and reproduce. (2) Species-rich ecosystems are built on a base of coevolved interactions. (3) Coevolution takes multiple forms and generates a diversity of ecological outcomes. (4) Interactions coevolve as constantly changing geographic mosaics.

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