Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The niche construction perspective: a critical appraisal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process).

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1243
Number of pages13
JournalEvolution
Volume68
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

    Research areas

  • Adaptation, Adaptationism, Evolution, Natural selection, Niche, Niche construction, Evolutionary synthesis, Interacting phenotypes, Lactase persistence, Social interactions, Extended phenotype, Uncluive fitness, Sexual selection, Kin selection, Evo-devo, Consequences

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. A single pleiotropic locus influences the rate of hybridization between two sibling species of Lygaeus bugs

    Balfour, V., Black, D. & Shuker, D. M., Nov 2020, In : Ecology and Evolution. 10, 21, p. 12224-12232 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Attentional coordination in demonstrator-observer dyads facilitates learning and predicts performance in a novel manual task

    Pagnotta, M., Laland, K. N. & Coco, M. I., Aug 2020, In : Cognition. 201, 104314.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Genomics of sex allocation in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis

    Pannebakker, B. A., Cook, N., van den Heuvel, J., van de Zande, L. & Shuker, D. M., 20 Jul 2020, In : BMC Genomics. 21, 14 p., 499.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. The role of food transfers in wild golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia): support for the informational and nutritional hypothesis

    Troisi, C. A., Hoppitt, W. J. E., Ruiz-Miranda, C. R. & Laland, K. N., 24 Jun 2020, In : Primates. First Online, 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Evolution (Journal)

    Michael Blair Morrissey (Member of editorial board)

    1 Jan 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Evolution (Journal)

    Michael Blair Morrissey (Member of editorial board)

    1 Jan 20181 Jan 2021

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  3. Evolution (Journal)

    Thomas Robert Meagher (Editor)

    2006 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Quantifying the causal pathways contributing to natural selection

    Henshaw, J. M., Morrissey, M. B. & Jones, A. G., 12 Oct 2020, In : Evolution. Early View, 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. A note on simulating null distributions for G matrix comparisons

    Morrissey, M. B., Hangartner, S. & Monro, K., 22 Oct 2019, In : Evolution. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Sexual selection in complex communities: integrating interspecific reproductive interference in structured populations

    McDonald, G., Gardner, A. & Pizzari, T., 2 Apr 2019, In : Evolution. Early View, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Social runaway: fisherian elaboration (or reduction) of socially selected traits via indirect genetic effects

    Bailey, N. W. & Kölliker, M., 17 Jul 2019, In : Evolution. Early View, 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. No effect of intraspecific relatedness on public goods cooperation in a complex community

    O'Brien, S., Hesse, E., Luján, A., Hodgson, D., Gardner, A. & Buckling, A., 29 Apr 2018, In : Evolution. Early View, 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 129574692

Top