Ecological and evolutionary dynamics of interconnectedness and modularity

Jan M. Nordbotten, Simon A. Levin, Eörs Szathmáry, Nils C. Stenseth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this contribution, we develop a theoretical framework for linking microprocesses (i.e., population dynamics and evolution through natural selection) with macrophenomena (such as interconnectedness and modularity within an ecological system). This is achieved by developing a measure of interconnectedness for population distributions defined on a trait space (generalizing the notion of modularity on graphs), in combination with an evolution equation for the population distribution. With this contribution, we provide a platform for understanding under what environmental, ecological, and evolutionary conditions ecosystems evolve toward being more or less modular. A major contribution of this work is that we are able to decompose the overall driver of changes at the macro level (such as interconnectedness) into three components: (i) ecologically driven change, (ii) evolutionarily driven change, and (iii) environmentally driven change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-755
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 23 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Macroecological patterns
  • Macroevolutionary patterns
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Microevolution
  • Population biology


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