The role of behaviour in evolutionary change has long been debated. On the one hand, behavioural changes may expose individuals to new selective pressures by altering the way that organisms interact with the environment, thus driving evolutionary divergence. Alternatively, behaviour can act to retard evolutionary change: by altering behavioural patterns in the face of new environmental conditions, organisms can minimize exposure to new selective pressures. This constraining influence of behaviour has been put forward as an explanation for evolutionary stasis within lineages and niche conservatism within clades. Nonetheless, the hypothesis that behavioural change prevents natural selection from operating in new environments has never been experimentally tested. We conducted a controlled and replicated experimental study of selection in entirely natural populations; we demonstrate that lizards alter their habitat use in the presence of an introduced predator, but that these behavioural shifts do not prevent patterns of natural selection from changing in experimental populations.
Losos, Jonathan BSchoener, Thomas WSpiller, David AengResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.England2004/11/27 09:00Nature. 2004 Nov 25;432(7016):505-8.