EEB Professor Peter Nonacs, Ten EEB Graduate Students, and One Former EEB Undergraduate Student's recent paper was published as part of a research topic on Major Evolutionary Transitions in Frontiers Ecology and Evolution
EEB Professor Peter Nonacs, EEB Graduate Students: Amanda Robin, Eva Horna Lowell, Tanner Dulay, Saba Ebrahimi, Gina Johnson, Davis Mai, Sean O'Fallon, Conner Philson, Hayden Speck, and Xinhui Paige Zhang; and Former EEB Undergraduate Student, Kaleda Denton's, recent paper, "Major evolutionary transitions and the roles of facilitation and information in ecosystem transformations", was published as part of a research topic on Major Evolutionary Transitions in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. The paper originated as a joint project in a 297 Grad Seminar in Winter 2020.
Professor Nonacs notes that major evolutionary transitions have been categorized as fusions of previously independent individuals into an integrated, higher order individual, or as fundamental changes in how information is stored and transmitted across individuals. However, the ecological context in which such changes occurred or the effects they had on entire ecosystems were often not considered. Yet, it is precisely such changes that implicitly first drew attention to these events. We examine what was happening in the environment preceding and succeeding these transitions and how this alters our understanding of the key evolutionary events throughout Earth’s history.