Eco-evolutionary partitioning metrics: a practical guide for biologists

Lynn Govaert


It is well-known that ecological and evolutionary processes can occur on similar time scales resulting in eco-evolutionary dynamics. One of the main questions in eco-evolutionary dynamics involves the assessment of the relative contribution of evolution, ecology and their interaction in the eco-evolutionary change under study. This has led to the development of several methods aimed to quantify the contributions of ecology and evolution to observed trait change, here referred to as eco-evolutionary partitioning metrics. This study provides an overview on currently-used partitioning metrics with a focus on methods that can quantify evolutionary and non-evolutionary contributions to population and community trait change. I highlight key differences between these metrics found in previous studies. Additionally, I also provide a detailed comparison between the ‘Geber’ method and the reaction norm approach. Next, I provide a guideline for researchers to assess which metrics are best suited for their data, give an overview on the type of data needed for these metrics, and how this data can be collected with a focus on community data.


Price equation; reaction norms; eco-evolutionary partitioning metrics; community ecology; trait change


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