Ecological Darwinism or Preliminary Answers to Some Crucial though Seldom Asked Questions


Author: Lekevičius, Edmundas
Almanac: History & Mathematics:Big History Aspects

Abstract

The author asserts that evolutionary regularities might be deduced from principles of life's functioning. First of all, the latter should describe the part-whole relationships and control mechanisms. The author suggests supplementing the concept of struggle for existence with the concept of functional hierarchy: no solitary individual or species is functionally autonomous, life as we know it can exist only in the form of a nutrient cycle. Only two purely biotic forces – ‘biotic attraction’ and ‘biotic repulsion’ – act in the living world. The first one maintains and increases diversity and organizes solitary parts into systems integrated to a greater or lesser degree. The second one, in the form of competition, lessens biodiversity but at the same time provides life with necessary plasticity. On that basis, tentative answers to the following questions are given: (1) Why does life exhibit such a peculiar organization: with strong integration at lower levels of organization and weak integration at the higher ones?; (2) Why did particular species and guilds appear on the evolutionary stage at that particular time and not at any other?; (3) Why was the functional structure of ecosystems prone to convergence despite a multitude of stochastic factors?

Keywords: ecological Darwinism, biology, selection, ecosystems.