Evolutionary trap


Evolutionary trap

Evolutionary traps occur when rapid environmental change triggers organisms to make maladaptive behavioral decisions.cite journal |last=Schlaepfer |first=M.A. |authorlink= |coauthors=Runge, M.C. & Sherman, P.W. |year=2002 |month= |title=Ecological and evolutionary traps |journal=Trends in Ecology and Evolution |volume=17 |issue= |pages=478-480 |id= |url= |accessdate= |quote= |doi=10.1016/S0169-5347(02)02580-6] While these traps may take place within any type of behavioral context (e.g. mate selection, navigation, nest-site selection), the most empirically and theoretically well-understood type of evolutionary trap is the ecological trapcite journal |last=Dwernychuk |first=L.W. |authorlink= |coauthors=Boag, D.A. |year=1972 |month= |title=Ducks nesting in association with gulls-an ecological trap? |journal=Canadian Journal of Zoology |volume=50 |issue= |pages=559-563 |id= |url= |accessdate= |quote= ] which represents maladaptive habitat selection behavior.

Witheringtoncite book |last=Witherington |first=B.E. |editor=Clemons, J.R. & Bucholz, R. |title=Behavioral approaches to conservation in the wild |year=1997 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=Cambridge, UK |isbn=0521580544 |pages=303-328 |chapter=The problem of photopollution for sea turtles and other nocturnal animals ] demonstrates an interesting case of a "navigational trap". Over evolutionary time, hatchling sea turtles have evolved the tendency to migrate toward the light of the moon upon emerging from their sand nests. However, in the modern world, this has resulted in them tending to orient towards bright beach-front lighting, which is a more intense light source than the moon. As a result the hatchlings migrate up the beach and away from the ocean where they exhaust themselves, dessicate and die either as a result of exhuastion, dehydration or predation.

Habitat selection is an extremely important process in the lifespan of most organisms. That choice affects nearly all of an individual’s subsequent choices,cite journal |last=Orians |first=G.H. |authorlink= |coauthors=Wittenberger, J.F. |year=1991 |month= |title=Spatial and temporal scales in habitat selection |journal=American Naturalist |volume=137 |issue= |pages=S29-S49 |id= |url= |accessdate= |quote= ] so it may not be particularly surprising the type of evolutionary trap with the best empirical support is the ecological trap. Even so, traps may be relatively difficult to detect and so the lack of evidence for other types of evolutionary trap may be a result of the paucity of researchers looking for them coupled with the demanding evidence required to demonstrate their existence.cite journal |last=Robertson |first=B.A. |authorlink= |coauthors=Hutto, R.L. |year=2006 |month= |title=A framework for understanding ecological traps and an evaluation of existing evidence |journal=Ecology |volume=87 |issue= |pages=1075-1085 |id= |url= |accessdate= |quote= |doi=10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87 [1075:AFFUET] 2.0.CO;2]

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