Special Reviews

The Red Queen and the Court Jester: Species Diversity and the Role of Biotic and Abiotic Factors Through Time

Science  06 Feb 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5915, pp. 728-732
DOI: 10.1126/science.1157719

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Abstract

Evolution may be dominated by biotic factors, as in the Red Queen model, or abiotic factors, as in the Court Jester model, or a mixture of both. The two models appear to operate predominantly over different geographic and temporal scales: Competition, predation, and other biotic factors shape ecosystems locally and over short time spans, but extrinsic factors such as climate and oceanographic and tectonic events shape larger-scale patterns regionally and globally, and through thousands and millions of years. Paleobiological studies suggest that species diversity is driven largely by abiotic factors such as climate, landscape, or food supply, and comparative phylogenetic approaches offer new insights into clade dynamics.

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