Ecological interactions and evolution: Forgotten parts of biodiversity?
Organisms are shaped contemporaneously by ecological processes and over long periods of time by evolution, processes that have led to the diversification of life. But is the diversity of life all biodiversity is? We argue that biodiversity is the conclusion drawn both from the variety of life forms and from the variety of processes that have shaped them. One cannot talk about biodiversity in a scientifically meaningful way without going beyond taxonomic considerations.
Emphasizing taxonomic descriptions and ignoring process descriptions draws attention to genes and organisms rather than to the dynamic interactions between them. When environmental changes reduce the number of species, it is not just the list of present organisms that changes. Possibly unique interactions may also be lost forever, and with their loss, we may lose the potential for generation of a new diversity of life.