Turner, 2015/2016: Homeostasis and the physiological dimension of niche construction theory in ecology and evolution

[From MK (2016.07.19.1040 CET)]


Evol Ecol (2016) 30:203�219

DOI 10.1007/s10682-015-9795-2

Homeostasis and the physiological dimension of niche construction
theory in ecology and evolution
J. Scott Turner


"Niche construction theory (NCT) has been represented as a new and comprehensive
theory of evolution, one that breaks the constraints imposed by the dominant
and largely gene-selectionist standard evolutionary model that is
presently mischaracterized
as ‘‘Darwinian.’’ I will argue that NCT is not so much a new theory,
as it is a fruitful
readmission of a venerable physiological perspective on adaptation,
selection and evolution.
This perspective is closer in spirit and philosophy to the original
(and richer) Darwinian
idea developed by Darwin himself, and that animated much of the rich late
nineteenth century debate about evolution, heredity, adaptation and
development, a debate
that was largely eclipsed by the early twentieth century emergence of
the Neodarwinian
synthesis. I will argue that a full realization of the promise of NCT
turns on a full
understanding of another intellectual revolution of the nineteenth
century, Claude Bernard’s
conception of homeostasis, a profound statement of the nature of life that has,
through the twentieth century, come to be widely misunderstood and trivialized."

Found in same special issue of Evolutionary Ecology:
Evol Ecol (2016) 30:191�202

DOI 10.1007/s10682-016-9821-z

An introduction to niche construction theory
Kevin Laland, Blake Matthews, Marcus W. Feldman


"Niche construction refers to the modification of selective environments by
organisms. Theoretical and empirical studies of niche construction are
increasing in
importance as foci in evolutionary ecology. This special edition
presents theoretical and
empirical research that illustrates the significance of niche
construction to the field. Here
we set the scene for the following papers by (1) discussing the
history of niche construction
research, (2) providing clear definitions that distinguish niche
construction from related
concepts such as ecosystem engineering and the extended phenotype, (3)
providing a brief
summary of the findings of niche construction research, (4) discussing
the contribution of
niche construction and ecological inheritance to (a) expanded notions
of inheritance, and
(b) the extended evolutionary synthesis, and (5) briefly touching on
some of the issues that
underlie the controversies over niche construction."
ToC of the issue: http://link.springer.com/journal/10682/30/2/page/1