Department Fish Ecology and Evolution

Eco-evolutionary dynamics in an urban planet

A great challenge for ecology in the coming decades is to understand the role humans play in eco-evolutionary dynamics. We define eco-evolutionary dynamics as the interplay between ecology and evolution on contemporary time scales. Emerging evidence shows that evolution can happen at much shorter time scales than originally believed. If, as the evidence indicates, such rapid evolutionary change affects ecosystem functioning and stability, it might have significant implications for ecological processes and human well-being on a contemporary scale. Humans are some of the most potent drivers of natural selection, with the potential to create unprecedented evolutionary consequences for Earth’s ecosystems. In human-dominated environments such as cities, selection pressures acting on traits can affect population dynamics by changing organisms’ rates of survival or reproductive success, leaving a genetic signature that might affect community dynamics and ecosystem functions. As cities expand rapidly around the globe, urbanization is becoming a dominant cause of human-driven eco-evolutionary change.




Dr. Blake MatthewsTel. +41 58 765 2120Send Mail

Latest publication

On biological evolution and environmental solutions

Matthews, B.; Jokela, J.; Narwani, A.; Rasanen, K.; Pomati, F.; Altermatt, F.; Spaak, P.; Robinson, Ch.T.; Vorbuger, Ch. (2020)

accepted version

Urban Eco-Evo Network

Selected publications

Best, R. J.; Anaya-Rojas, J. M.; Leal, M. C.; Schmid, D. W.; Seehausen, O.; Matthews, B. (2017) Transgenerational selection driven by divergent ecological impacts of hybridizing lineages, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1, 1757-1765, doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0308-2, Institutional Repository
Dakos, V.; Matthews, B.; Hendry, A. P.; Levine, J.; Loeuille, N.; Norberg, J.; Nosil, P.; Scheffer, M.; De Meester, L. (2019) Ecosystem tipping points in an evolving world, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3(3), 355-362, doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0797-2, Institutional Repository
Harmon, L. J.; Matthews, B.; Des Roches, S.; Chase, J. M.; Shurin, J. B.; Schluter, D. (2009) Evolutionary diversification in stickleback affects ecosystem functioning, Nature, 458(7974), 1167-1170, doi:10.1038/nature07974, Institutional Repository
Leal, M. C.; Seehausen, O.; Matthews, B. (2017) The ecology and evolution of stoichiometric phenotypes, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 32(2), 108-117, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2016.11.006, Institutional Repository
Lürig, M. D.; Best, R. J.; Svitok, M.; Jokela, J.; Matthews, B. (2019) The role of plasticity in the evolution of cryptic pigmentation in a freshwater isopod, Journal of Animal Ecology, 88(4), 612-623, doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12950, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Jokela, J.; Narwani, A.; Räsänen, K.; Pomati, F.; Altermatt, F.; Spaak, P.; Robinson, C. T.; Vorburger, C. (2020) On biological evolution and environmental solutions, Science of the Total Environment, 724, 138194 (7 pp.), doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138194, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Best, R. J.; Feulner, P. G. D.; Narwani, A.; Limberger, R. (2018) Evolution as an ecosystem process: insights from genomics, Genome, 61(4), 298-309, doi:10.1139/gen-2017-0044, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Aebischer, T.; Sullam, K. E.; Lundsgaard-Hansen, B.; Seehausen, O. (2016) Experimental evidence of an eco-evolutionary feedback during adaptive divergence, Current Biology, 26(4), 483-489, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.070, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; De Meester, L.; Jones, C. G.; Ibelings, B. W.; Bouma, T. J.; Nuutinen, V.; van de Koppel, J.; Odling-Smee, J. (2014) Under niche construction: an operational bridge between ecology, evolution, and ecosystem science, Ecological Monographs, 84(2), 245-263, doi:10.1890/13-0953.1, Institutional Repository
Matthews, B.; Narwani, A.; Hausch, S.; Nonaka, E.; Peter, H.; Yamamichi, M.; Sullam, K. E.; Bird, K. C.; Thomas, M. K.; Hanley, T. C.; Turner, C. B. (2011) Toward an integration of evolutionary biology and ecosystem science, Ecology Letters, 14(7), 690-701, doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01627.x, Institutional Repository
Weber, M. G.; Wagner, C. E.; Best, R. J.; Harmon, L. J.; Matthews, B. (2017) Evolution in a community context: on integrating ecological interactions and macroevolution, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 32(4), 291-304, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2017.01.003, Institutional Repository