Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Plant Sciences, Zoology & Evolution => Topic started by: BreakBeatPoet on 17/08/2010 06:26:15

Title: Is a functioning ecosystem a byproduct of evolution?
Post by: BreakBeatPoet on 17/08/2010 06:26:15
I was thinking... it makes sense to say that the balanced ecosystem is a by product of evolution(natural selection) But does this mean there was always a perfect ecosystem in every stage of evolution for every living species? How could this of happened without evolution occurring first? But in order for evolution to exist, you need life, and for life to exist, you need a working, balanced ecosystem.  [???] Someone please help!
Title: Is a functioning ecosystem a byproduct of evolution?
Post by: BenV on 17/08/2010 13:28:54
Interesting question.  I think a functioning ecosystem probably could be thought of as a byproduct of evolution, but there are such close relationships between the two that it would be impossible to untangle them.  An available niche in an ecosystem will present a selective pressure to a species, but change in population number/structure will alter an ecosystem.

You don't neccessarily need a balanced ecosystem for life to exist, I would think of it more as a consequence of life existing, especially where resources are limited.
Title: Is a functioning ecosystem a byproduct of evolution?
Post by: peppercorn on 17/08/2010 14:59:00
Reminds me of "The chicken and the egg"!

I would say the each species' evolution taken collectively is indivisible from the ecosystems it inhabits.

Clearly, some species (eg. an abundant plankton) mutating to better suit its environment would have a far further reaching effect on many varied ecosystems than another.

Earth's biosphere contains multiple interlinked ecosystems in dynamic feedback, all governed by chaotic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory) rules.