Collectanea Botanica, Vol 33 (2014)

Paleoecología ecológica: Un eslabón perdido entre ecología y evolución


https://doi.org/10.3989/collectbot.2013.v33.005

V. Rull
Palynology & Paleoecology Lab, Botanic Institute of Barcelona (IBB-CSIC-ICUB), España

Resumen


La paleoecología es más que una disciplina ambiental, ya que proporciona las evidencias empíricas necesarias para verificar hipótesis ecológicas y contribuye a una mejor comprensión de la interfase ecología-evolución. El ámbito temporal de la paleoecología es la dimensión denominada Q-time (siglos a milenios), que parece ser la más adecuada para examinar las interacciones ecología-evolución. Este artículo discute el problema desde una perspectiva conceptual y proporciona ejemplos de la contribución de la paleoecología al estudio de dichas interacciones, además de advertir de las posibles consecuencias de ignorar esta disciplina. En concreto, se propone que una infravaloración de la paleoecología podría llevar a la pérdida de soporte empírico para la ecología y sus interacciones con la evolución. Los principales conceptos discutidos son el continuum temporal, la noción de paleoecología ecológica y la naturaleza empírica de la paleoecología, frente a enfoques más hipotéticos como las filogenias moleculares. En un sentido más práctico, se muestran ejemplos que enfatizan la utilidad de la paleoecología ecológica para la comprensión de procesos como la sucesión ecológica, el equilibrio comunidad-ambiente, el ensamblaje de comunidades, las respuestas bióticas a los cambios ambientales, eventos de especiación y extinción, o la conservación de la biodiversidad. La interfase ecología-evolución se analiza mediante dos procesos en los que estas disciplinas interactúan intensamente: La sucesión ecológica y la migración a gran escala. Se concluye que tanto la paleoecología ecológica (incluyendo los registros de ADN fósil) como la filogenia y filogeografía de ADN son necesarias para un mejor conocimiento ecológico de la biosfera y de los procesos que tienen lugar en la interfase ecología-evolución.

Palabras clave


Cuaternario; filogenia; filogeografía; genómica; interfase ecología-evolución; paleoecología; Q-time

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