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Ellison Abstract- 2001 Ellison and Gotelli

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Ellison, A. M. and N. J. Gotelli. 2001. Evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 16: 623-629.


After more than a century of being regarded as botanical oddities, carnivorous plants have emerged as model systems that are appropriate for addressing a wide array of ecological and evolutionary questions. Now that reliable molecular phylogenies are available for many carnivorous plants, they can be used to study convergences and divergences in ecophysiology and life-history strategies. Cost-benefit models and demographic analysis can provide insight into the selective forces promoting carnivory. Important areas for future research include the assessment of the interaction between nutrient availability and drought tolerance among carnivorous plants, as well as measurements of spatial and temporal variability in microhabitat characteristics that might constrain plant growth and fitness. In addition to addressing evolutionary convergence, such studies must take into account the evolutionary diversity of carnivorous plants and their wide variety of life forms and habitats. Finally, carnivorous plants have suffered from historical overcollection, and their habitats are vanishing rapidly. A major focus of future research on this exciting group of plants should be directed towards strategies for their conservation and management.

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