IV.8.5 Even whole plant and animal communities can compete; however, it is doubtful whether these communities could function as the objects of biological evolution.

Natural selectioncould theoretically occur even at higher levels than the population or species.Consequently, it is possible that entire flora and fauna communities could compete together or, on a cosmic scale, entire biospheres of various planets.Ecological data indicate that competition between communities does actually occur and sequences of succession stages have been described, which regularly alternate in a certain biotope.However, from the standpoint of evolutionary biology, competition at a higher level than intraspecies is a rare phenomenon.The main factor responsible for minimal effectiveness of selection at a community level consists in low heritability of the properties of communities.If selection actually occurs at the level of ecological communities, then everything that was said of group selection is also true here (to an elevated degree).

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more
Draft translation from: Evoluční biologie, 2. vydání (Evolutionary biology, 2nd edition), J. Flegr, Academia Prague 2009. The translation was not done by biologist, therefore any suggestion concerning proper scientific terminology and language usage are highly welcomed. You can send your comments to flegratcesnet [dot] cz. Thank you.