Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Over the previous 14 chapters, I have recounted the major questions that evolutionary ecologists have addressed and some of the discoveries that they have brought to light. In this chapter, I will draw on this experience to explain what evolutionary ecology as a whole is trying to do. First, evolutionary ecology is primarily about understanding biological diversity. Both ecology and evolution are about understanding variation in a common set of variables, so it is natural that they should sometimes need to work together to do that. Second, evolution and ecology affect each other. Evolutionary ecology explores the different ways in which this happens. Third, the different topics in evolutionary ecology help explain each other. This occurs because many evolutionary or ecological traits are dependent on each other, and because many of the research tools are broadly applicable. Below I expand briefly on these themes in the light of the preceding chapters.
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