Prospects

While evolutionary ecologists have come a long way, there is obviously much still to do. We still have a very sketchy empirical knowledge of many topics, such as co-evolution, the evolution of dispersal, most of the early major transitions in ecology and evolution, macroevolution and even macroecological trends for most taxa. Some areas are also theoretically poor, in some cases due to a lack of data; macroecology and macroevolution notably so. Some topics are recent and will inevitably see big advances in knowledge and direction; the evolution of population dynamics is one such area. Other areas are mature in data and theory, and yet are still experiencing interesting new changes, such as in sex allocation and life histories. Substantial progress in understanding is therefore expected in all areas. Because of the interconnections between the different topics, we would expect progress in one area to continue to advance others. Much of the progress will come through innovative new techniques, both theoretical, like adaptive dynamics, and empirical, like molecular phylogenetics. However, evolutionary ecology has always gained much, and will continue to gain much, by simple work that asks the right questions.

Evolutionary ecology is wonderful for what it gives us and what it demands of us. It gives us understanding of the natural world that we have always striven for. It demands of us our best characteristics: ability, imagination, energy, and love. As contributors towards society and its progression, we all deserve to appreciate and celebrate it.

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