The European Tribune is a forum for thoughtful dialogue of European and international issues. You are invited to post comments and your own articles.
Please REGISTER to post.
R-selected species indeed keep on coming. But as they are exposed to a sequence of boom-and-bust cycles, they ought to "acquire" more "altruistic" traits, and become k-selected species. Of course, different scenarios are possible, and they occured numerous times throughout evolution, with various frequences.
What I may object is this assumption.
In stable or predictable environments K-selection predominates, as the ability to compete successfully for limited resources is crucial, and populations of K-selected organisms are typically very constant and close to the maximum that the environment can bear.
I know, Dawkins would say that the idyllic picture of lively organisms taking "only what they need" is in principle unstable, since more greedy individuals will start "benefitting" most and forcing everyone to an exploitation race. But first of all, the "unstable" ignorant period may last much longer than the "rational" growth-bust phase. Secondly, it is assumed that you can do nothing at "crazy" times but join the bahanalia. Well, dealing with "foolish" species and bands is indeed problematic. But the things to do to overcome habitat's degradation does not have to be wholesome participation. Nothing may be guaranteed on individual level, but what may survive more easily are collective arrangements or symbiotic relations. The harsh times are the best times for altruism!
In general, the r-selection is "justifiable" when the resources are abound. That is perhaps the story of every "innovative" disturbance: a pack of r-selected species occur and a boom follows, with a "depression" (or worse) thereafter. But however dramatic this cycle may look for participating species, the booms and busts may perform a "pedestrian" function for more complex organisms, or ecosystems. In particular, the predictable sequences of ecological successions might be more orderly than it should be expected from the determenistic chaos paradigm: the successions might be controled by a pool of genes distributed across participating organisms.
But even in times of plenty, it is not "stupid" to refrain from most effective growth, while that can last. K-selected species can be suboptimally greedy because of a genetic or habitual trait from critical times, and that can be useful on the long time scale. Of course, the art of long term survival must include dealing with "foolish" r-selected species. Living is a complicated problem - so the biological world is becoming more complicated while solving those problems. I think that cooperation and contribution to resilience pf environment must be important part of solutions against r-species. In this light, the Gaia hypothesis might become more interesting.
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 20 46 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 22 7 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 17 44 comments
by ARGeezer - Oct 17 20 comments
by Oui - Oct 15 71 comments
by IdiotSavant - Oct 14 4 comments
by IdiotSavant - Oct 15 2 comments
by IdiotSavant - Oct 14 10 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 227 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 2046 comments
by ARGeezer - Oct 1720 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 1744 comments
by Oui - Oct 1571 comments
by IdiotSavant - Oct 152 comments
by Oui - Oct 1420 comments
by IdiotSavant - Oct 1410 comments
by IdiotSavant - Oct 144 comments
by Oui - Oct 1146 comments
by ARGeezer - Oct 1111 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 1071 comments
by Oui - Oct 822 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 876 comments
by Oui - Oct 333 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Oct 223 comments
by Oui - Oct 25 comments
by Oui - Oct 1
by Oui - Sep 2872 comments
by ARGeezer - Sep 2729 comments