Species' borders: a unifying theme in ecology

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Biologists have long been fascinated by species' borders, and with good reason. Understanding the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of species' borders may prove to be the key that unlocks new understanding across a wide range of biological phenomena. After all, geographic range limits are a point of entry into understanding the ecological niche and threshold responses to environmental change. Elucidating patterns of gene flow to, and returning from, peripheral populations can provide important insights into the nature of adaptation, speciation and coevolution. species' borders form natural laboratories for the study of the spatial structure of species interactions. Comparative studies from the center to the margin of species' ranges allow us to explore species' demographic responses along gradients of increasing environmental stress. Range dynamics further permit investigation into invasion dynamics and represent bellwethers for a changing climate. This set of papers explores ecological and evolutionary dynamics of species' borders from diverse empirical and theoretical perspectives.

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