Project 18
Adaptive trends and parallel evolution generated by niche construction

Led by Kevin Laland, John Odling-Smee, Hilton Japyassu, Sally Street & Susan Healy


yellow weaver and nest


This project tests the hypothesis that animal artefact building (e.g. nests and webs) generates consistent and predictable selection pressures, which lead to consistent responses to selection across taxa and in turn, predictable evolutionary trends and parallel patterns across diverse traits. We are compiling data on nest building in birds and fishes, and web building in spiders, making predictions about expected selective responses to this niche-constructing activity, and testing these predictions using comparative phylogenetic methods.


Niche construction affects the variability and strength of natural selection.
[download PDF]
Clark AD, Deffner D, Laland KN, Odling-Smee J and Endler J. 2019. The American Naturalist DOI: 10.1086/706196
Niche construction, sources of selection and trait coevolution
[download PDF]
Laland KN, Odling-Smee JF, Endler J. 2017. Interface Focus 2017 7 20160147.

Blog posts
Organism-Constructed Environments are Different
Laland KN. 20 December 2019.
Deconstructing niche construction: A TVOL conversation between Gordon Burghardt and Kevin Laland
Burghardt GM & Laland KN. 26 June 2017.
Defining niche construction
Laland KN. 13 March 2017.


EES predictions this project tests

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