Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Island ecology and evolution: challenges in the Anthropocene

  • NATALIE R. GRAHAM (a1), DANIEL S. GRUNER (a2), JUN Y. LIM (a1) (a3) and ROSEMARY G. GILLESPIE (a1)
Summary
SUMMARY

Islands are widely considered to be model systems for studying fundamental questions in ecology and evolutionary biology. The fundamental state factors that vary among island systems – geologic history, size, isolation and age – form the basis of mature phenomenological and predictive theory. In this review, we first highlight classic lines of inquiry that exemplify the historical and continuing importance of islands. We then show how the conceptual power of islands as ‘natural laboratories’ can be improved through functional classifications of both the biological properties of, and human impact on, insular systems. We highlight how global environmental change has been accentuated on islands, expressly because of their unique insular properties. We review five categories of environmental perturbation: climate change, habitat modification, direct exploitation, invasion and disease. Using an analysis of taxonomic checklists for the arthropod biotas of three well-studied island archipelagos, we show how taxonomists are meeting the challenge of biodiversity assessment before the biodiversity disappears. Our aim is to promote discussion on the tight correlations of the environmental health of insular systems to their continued importance as singular venues for discovery in ecology and evolutionary biology, as well as to their conservation significance as hotspots of endemism.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Natalie R. Graham email: n.graham@berkeley.edu
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

O. Arrhenius (1921) Species and area. Journal of Ecology 9 (1): 9599.

P. A. Borges , J. M. Lobo , E. B. Azevedo , C. S. Gaspar , C. Melo & L. V. Nunes (2006) Invasibility and species richness of island endemic arthropods: a general model of endemic vs. exotic species. Journal of Biogeography 33 (1): 169187.

P. A. V. Borges & V. K. Brown (1999) Effect of island geological age on the arthropod species richness of Azorean pastures. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 66 (3): 373410.

M. K. Borregaard , I. R. Amorim , P. A. V. Borges , J. S. Cabral , J. M. Fernández-Palacios , R. Field , L. R. Heaney , H. Kreft , T. J. Matthews , J. M. Olesen , J. Price , F. Rigal , M. J. Steinbauer , K. A. Triantis , L. Valente , P. Weigelt & R. J. Whittaker (2017) Oceanic island biogeography through the lens of the general dynamic model: assessment and prospect. Biological Reviews 92 (2): 830853.

T. M. Brooks , R. A. Mittermeier , C. G. Mittermeier , G. A. B. Da Fonseca , A. B. Rylands , W. R. Konstant , P. Flick , J. Pilgrim , S. Oldfield , G. Magin & C. Hilton-Taylor (2002) Habitat loss and extinction in the hotspots of biodiversity. Conservation Biology 16 (4): 909923.

J. H. Brown & A. Kodric-Brown (1977) Turnover rates in insular biogeography: effect of immigration on extinction. Ecology 58 (2): 445449.

D. A. Burney , H. F. James , L. P. Burney , S. L. Olson , W. Kikuchi , W. L. Wagner , M. Burney , D. McCloskey , D. Kikuchi , F. V. Grady , R., II Gage & R. Nishek (2001) Fossil evidence for a diverse biota from Kaua'i and its transformation since human arrival. Ecological Monographs 71 (4): 615641.

P. Cardoso , M. A. Arnedo , K. A. Triantis & P. A. V. Borges (2010) Drivers of diversity in Macaronesian spiders and the role of species extinctions. Journal of Biogeography 37 (6): 10341046.

J. Q. Chambers , R. I. Negron-Juarez , D. M. Marra , A. Di Vittorio , J. Tews , D. Roberts , G. H. Ribeiro , S. E. Trumbore & N. Higuchi (2013) The steady-state mosaic of disturbance and succession across an old-growth Central Amazon forest landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (10): 39493954.

J. M. Chase & J. A. Myers (2011) Disentangling the importance of ecological niches from stochastic processes across scales. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366 (1576): 23512363.

M. J. Costello , R. M. May & N. E. Stork (2013) Can we name Earth's species before they go extinct? Science 339 (6118): 413416.

P. A. Cox & T. Elmqvist (2000) Pollinator extinction in the Pacific Islands. Conservation Biology 14 (5): 12371239.

D. J. Crawford & J. K. Archibald (2017) Island floras as model systems for studies of plant speciation: prospects and challenges. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 55 (1): 115.

J. H. Cushman (1995) Ecosystem-level consequences of species additions and deletions on islands. In: Islands: Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Function, eds. P. M. Vitousek , L. L. Loope & H. Adsersen , pp. 135147. New York, NY, USA: Springer-Verlag.

M. A. Davis , M. K. Chew , R. J. Hobbs , A. E. Lugo , J. J. Ewel , G. J. Vermeij , J. H. Brown , M. L. Rosenzweig , M. R. Gardener & S. P. Carroll (2011) Don't judge species on their origins. Nature 474 (7350): 153154.

C. Elton (1958) The Ecology of Invasion by Plants and Animals. London, UK: Methuen.

J. M. Fernández-Palacios , K. F. Rijsdijk , S. J. Norder , R. Otto , L. de Nascimento , S. Fernández Lugo , E. Tjørve & R. J. Whittaker (2016) Towards a glacial-sensitive model of island biogeography. Global Ecology and Biogeography 25 (7): 817830.

M. T. Ferreira , P. Cardoso , P. A. Borges , R. Gabriel , E. B. de Azevedo , F. Reis , M. B. Araújo & R. B. Elias (2016) Effects of climate change on the distribution of indigenous species in oceanic islands (Azores). Climatic Change 138 (3–4): 603615.

M. Florencio , F. Rigal , P. A. Borges , P. Cardoso , A. M. Santos & J. M. Lobo (2016) The role of plant fidelity and land-use changes on island exotic and indigenous canopy spiders at local and regional scales. Biological Invasions 18 (8): 23092324.

J. A. Foley , R. DeFries , G. P. Asner , C. Barford , G. Bonan , S. R. Carpenter , F. S. Chapin , M. T. Coe , G. C. Daily & H. K. Gibbs (2005) Global consequences of land use. Science 309 (5734): 570574.

R. Frankham (1996) Relationship of genetic variation to population size in wildlife. Conservation Biology 10 (6): 15001508.

T. Fukami (2015) Historical contingency in community assembly: integrating niches, species pools, and priority effects. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 46: 123.

R. G. Gillespie (2016) Island time and the interplay between ecology and evolution in species diversification. Evolutionary Applications 9 (1): 5373.

R. G. Gillespie , E. M. Claridge & S. L. Goodacre (2008) Biogeography of the fauna of French Polynesia: diversification within and between a series of hot spot archipelagos. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 363 (1508): 33353346.

R. G. Gillespie & G. K. Roderick (2002) Arthropods on islands: colonization, speciation, and conservation. Annual Review of Entomology 47 (1): 595632.

C. D. Golden , M. H. Bonds , J. S. Brashares , B. J. R. Rasolofoniaina & C. Kremen (2014) Economic valuation of subsistence harvest of wildlife in Madagascar. Conservation Biology 28 (1): 234243.

N. J. Gotelli & D. J. McCabe (2002) Species co-occurrence: a meta-analysis of J. M. Diamond's assembly rules model. Ecology 83 (8): 20912096.

P. R. Grant & B. R. Grant (2016) Introgressive hybridization and natural selection in Darwin's finches. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 117 (4): 812822.

A. Gray & S. Cavers (2014) Island biogeography, the effects of taxonomic effort and the importance of island niche diversity to single-island endemic species. Systematic Biology 63 (1): 5565.

M. Green (2016) Contested territory. Nature Climate Change 6 (9): 817820.

M. G. Hadfield , S. E. Miller & H. C. Anne (1993) The decimation of endemic Hawai‘ian tree snails by alien predators. American Zoologist 33 (6): 610622.

L. J. Harmon , S. Harrison & T. Price (2015) Species diversity is dynamic and unbounded at local and continental scales. The American Naturalist 185 (5): 584593.

D. E. V. Harter , S. D. H. Irl , B. Seo , M. J. Steinbauer , R. Gillespie , K. A. Triantis , J.-M. Fernández Palacios & C. Beierkuhnlein (2015) Impacts of global climate change on the floras of oceanic islands: projections, implications and current knowledge. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 17 (2): 160183.

B. G. Holt , J.-P. Lessard , M. K. Borregaard , S. A. Fritz , M. B. Araújo , D. Dimitrov , P.H. Fabre , C. H. Graham , G. R. Graves & K. A. Jønsson (2013) An update of Wallace's zoogeographic regions of the world. Science 339 (6115): 7478.

D. U. Hooper , F. S. Chapin , J. J. Ewel , A. Hector , P. Inchausti , S. Lavorel , J. H. Lawton , D. M. Lodge , M. Loreau & S. Naeem (2005) Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current knowledge. Ecological Monographs 75 (1): 335.

L. N. Joppa , D. L. Roberts , N. Myers & S. L. Pimm (2011) Biodiversity hotspots house most undiscovered plant species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108 (32): 1317113176.

C. N. Kaiser-Bunbury & N. Blüthgen (2015) Integrating network ecology with applied conservation: a synthesis and guide to implementation. AoB PLANTS 7: plv076.

G. Kier , H. Kreft , T. M. Lee , W. Jetz , P. L. Ibisch , C. Nowicki , J. Mutke & W. Barthlott (2009) A global assessment of endemism and species richness across island and mainland regions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106 (23): 93229327.

C. Kueffer , C. C. Daehler , C. W. Torres-Santana , C. Lavergne , J.-Y. Meyer , R. Otto & L. Silva (2010) A global comparison of plant invasions on oceanic islands. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 12 (2): 145161.

C. Kueffer , D. R. Drake & J. M. Fernández-Palacios (2014) Island biology: looking towards the future. Biology Letters 10 (10): 20140719.

M. C. Labriola (2016) Marshall Islands. The Contemporary Pacific 28 (1): 193202.

D. A. LaPointe (2008) Dispersal of Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) in a Hawaiian rain forest. Journal of Medical Entomology 45 (4): 600609.

D. A. LaPointe , C. T. Atkinson & M. D. Samuel (2012) Ecology and conservation biology of avian malaria. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1249 (1): 211226.

J. H. Lawton (1994) What do species do in ecosystems? Oikos 71 (3): 367374.

M. A. Leibold , M. Holyoak , N. Mouquet , P. Amarasekare , J. M. Chase , M. F. Hoopes , R. D. Holt , J. B. Shurin , R. Law & D. Tilman (2004) The metacommunity concept: a framework for multi-scale community ecology. Ecology Letters 7 (7): 601613.

R. Levins (1969) Some demographic and genetic consequences of environmental heterogeneity for biological control. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America 15 (3): 237240.

J. Y. Lim & C. R. Marshall (2017) The true tempo of evolutionary radiation and decline revealed on the Hawaiian archipelago. Nature 543 (7647): 710713.

M. Lomolino (2000) A call for a new paradigm of island biogeography. Global Ecology and Biogeography 9 (1): 16.

I. J. Lovette (2008) Convergent evolution: raising a family from the dead. Current Biology 18 (24): R1132R1134.

A. Papadopoulou & L. L. Knowles (2015) Genomic tests of the species-pump hypothesis: recent island connectivity cycles drive population divergence but not speciation in Caribbean crickets across the Virgin Islands. Evolution 69 (6): 15011517.

A. Papadopoulou , P. Taberlet & L. Zinger (2015) Metagenome skimming for phylogenetic community ecology: a new era in biodiversity research. Molecular Ecology 24 (14): 35153517.

J. Patiño , R. J. Whittaker , P. A. V. Borges , J. M. Fernández-Palacios , C. Ah-Peng , M. B. Araújo , S. P. Ávila , P. Cardoso , J. Cornuault , E. J. de Boer , L. de Nascimento , A. Gil , A. González Castro , D. S. Gruner , R. Heleno , J. Hortal , J. C. Illera , C. N. Kaiser-Bunbury , T. J. Matthews , A. Papadopoulou , N. Pettorelli , J. P. Price , A. M. C. Santos , M. J. Steinbauer , K. A. Triantis , L. Valente , P. Vargas , P. Weigelt & B. C. Emerson (2017) A roadmap for island biology: 50 fundamental questions after 50 years of the theory of island biogeography. Journal of Biogeography 44 (5): 963983.

R. L. Perroy , J. Melrose & S. Cares (2016) The evolving agricultural landscape of post plantation Hawai‘i. Applied Geography 76: 154162.

A. Picanço , F. Rigal , T. J. Matthews , P. Cardoso & P. A. V. Borges (2017) Impact of land-use change on flower-visiting insect communities on an oceanic island. Insect Conservation and Diversity 10 (3): 211223.

F. W. Preston (1960) Time and space and the variation of species. Ecology 41 (4): 611627.

J. P. Price & D. Elliott-Fisk (2004) Topographic history of the Maui Nui complex, Hawai‘i, and its implications for biogeography. Pacific Science 58 (1): 2745.

C. J. Ralph & S. G. Fancy (1994) Timing of breeding and molting in six species of Hawaiian honeycreepers. The Condor 96 (1): 151161.

T. N. Romanuk , Y. Zhou , F. S. Valdovinos & N. D. Martinez (2017) Robustness trade-offs in model food webs: invasion probability decreases while invasion consequences increase with connectance. In: Advances in Ecological Research (vol. 56), eds. D. A. Bohan , A. J. Dumbrell & F. Massol , pp. 263291. Oxford, UK: Academic Press.

A. J. Rominger , K. R. Goodman , J. Y. Lim , E. E. Armstrong , L. E. Becking , G. M. Bennett , M. S. Brewer , D. D. Cotoras , C. P. Ewing , J. Harte , N. D. Martinez , P. M. O'Grady , D. M. Percy , D. K. Price , G. K. Roderick , K. L. Shaw , F. S. Valdovinos , D. S. Gruner & R. G. Gillespie (2016) Community assembly on isolated islands: macroecology meets evolution. Global Ecology and Biogeography 25 (7): 769780.

M. L. Rosenzweig (1995) Species Diversity in Space and Time. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

J. Rosindell & A. B. Phillimore (2011) A unified model of island biogeography sheds light on the zone of radiation. Ecology Letters 14 (6): 552560.

H. Schaefer , M. Moura , M. G. Belo Maciel , L. Silva , F. J. Rumsey & M. A. Carine (2011) The Linnean shortfall in oceanic island biogeography: a case study in the Azores. Journal of Biogeography 38 (7): 13451355.

S. I. Seneviratne , N. Nicholls , D. Easterling , C. M. Goodess , S. Kanae , J. Kossin , Y. Luo , J. Marengo , K. McInnes & M. Rahimi (2012) Changes in climate extremes and their impacts on the natural physical environment. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation: A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eds. C. B. Field , B. Barros , T. F. Stocker , D. Qin , D. J. Dokken , K. L. Ebi , M. D. Mastrandrea , K. J. Mach , G.-K. Plattner , S. K. Allen , M. Tignor & P. M. Midgley , pp. 109230. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

K. L. Shaw & R. G. Gillespie (2016) Comparative phylogeography of oceanic archipelagos: Hotspots for inferences of evolutionary process. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (29): 79867993.

D. S. Simberloff & L. G. Abele (1976) Island biogeography theory and conservation practice. Science 191 (4224): 285286.

D. S. Simberloff & B. Von Holle (1999) Positive interactions of nonindigenous species: invasional meltdown? Biological Invasions 1 (1): 2132.

C. Simon (1987) Hawaiian evolutionary biology: an introduction. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 2 (7): 175178.

D. W. Steadman (1995) Prehistoric extinctions of Pacific Island birds: biodiversity meets zooarchaeology. Science 267: 11231131.

D. W. Steadman & P. S. Martin (2003) The late Quaternary extinction and future resurrection of birds on Pacific islands. Earth-Science Reviews 61 (1): 133147.

J. Terborgh , L. Lopez , P. Nunez , M. Rao , G. Shahabuddin , G. Orihuela , M. Riveros , R. Ascanio , G. H. Adler & T. D. Lambert (2001) Ecological meltdown in predator-free forest fragments. Science 294 (5548): 19231926.

S. Terzopoulou , F. Rigal , R. J. Whittaker , P. A. Borges & K. A. Triantis (2015) Drivers of extinction: the case of Azorean beetles. Biology Letters 11 (6): 20150273.

C. D. Thomas , A. Cameron , R. E. Green , M. Bakkenes , L. J. Beaumont , Y. C. Collingham , B. F. N. Erasmus , M. F. De Siqueira , A. Grainger & L. Hannah (2004) Extinction risk from climate change. Nature 427 (6970): 145148.

A. Traveset , J. M. Fernández-Palacios , C. Kueffer , P. J. Bellingham , C. Morden & D. R. Drake (2016a) Advances in island plant biology since Sherwin Carlquist's Island Biology. AoB PLANTS 8: plv148.

A. Traveset , C. Tur , K. Trøjelsgaard , R. Heleno , R. Castro-Urgal & J. M. Olesen (2016b) Global patterns of mainland and insular pollination networks. Global Ecology and Biogeography 25 (7): 880890.

K. A. Triantis & S. A. Bhagwat (2011) Applied island biogeography. In: Conservation Biogeography, eds. R. J. Ladle & R. J. Whittaker , pp. 190223. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

M. van Kleunen , W. Dawson & N. Maurel (2015) Characteristics of successful alien plants. Molecular Ecology 24 (9): 19541968.

P. M. Vitousek , L. R. Walker , L. D. Whiteaker , D. Mueller-Dombois & P. A. Matson (1987) Biological invasion by Myrica faya alters ecosystem development in Hawaii. Science 238 (4828): 802804.

B. H. Walker (1992) Biodiversity and ecological redundancy. Conservation Biology 6 (1): 1823.

B. H. Warren , D. Simberloff , R. E. Ricklefs , R. Aguilée , F. L. Condamine , D. Gravel , H. Morlon , N. Mouquet , J. Rosindell , J. Casquet , E. Conti , J. Cornuault , J. M. Fernández-Palacios , T. Hengl , S. J. Norder , K. F. Rijsdijk , I. Sanmartín , D. Strasberg , K. A. Triantis , L. M. Valente , R. J. Whittaker , R. G. Gillespie , B. C. Emerson & C. Thébaud (2015) Islands as model systems in ecology and evolution: prospects fifty years after MacArthur–Wilson. Ecology Letters 18 (2): 200217.

R. J. Whittaker , M. B. Araújo , P. Jepson , R. J. Ladle , J. E. Watson & K. J. Willis (2005) Conservation biogeography: assessment and prospect. Diversity and Distributions 11 (1): 323.

R. W. Whittaker , K. A. Triantis & R. J. Ladle (2008) A general dynamic theory for oceanic island biogeography. Journal of Biogeography 35: 977994.

B. A. Wilcox (1978) Supersaturated island faunas: a species–age relationship for lizards on post Pleistocene land-bridge islands. Science 199 (4332): 996998.

E. O. Wilson (1961) The nature of the taxon cycle in the Melanesian ant fauna. The American Naturalist 95 (882): 169193.

A. D. Yoder , C. R. Campbell , M. B. Blanco , M. dos Reis , J. U. Ganzhorn , S. M. Goodman , K. E. Hunnicutt , P. A. Larsen , P. M. Kappeler & R. M. Rasoloarison (2016) Geogenetic patterns in mouse lemurs (genus Microcebus) reveal the ghosts of Madagascar's forests past. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113 (29): 80498056.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 54 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 335 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 27th June 2017 - 16th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.