About this website
We have developed this website in the hope that it will prove a valuable resource for the community of academics, students and other individuals interested in the topic of niche construction. The website is designed to provide an accessible introduction to the subject of niche construction, explaining what it is, and how it is being used across multiple academic fields.
There are so many published articles on niche construction now that we cannot possibly feature them all. Please forgive us if we have not mentioned your favourite study. Designing and producing the content for this website has been a huge undertaking, and the website is already far more content rich that most comparable sites. Nonetheless, if you do detect an egregious omission please don’t hesitate to let us know, and maybe we will be able to incorporate it.
If you have recently written on niche construction, tell us about your work, and we will try to tweet about it from @EES_update. Our hope is that a flavour of what is genuinely exciting about niche construction comes across in the website’s pages, that it starts to become widely used, and eventually becomes cherished by the community.
Kevin Laland and Lynn Chiu
How to use this website
According to Web of Knowledge, there are now well over 1500 articles with “niche construction” in their title or listed amongst their keywords. Niche construction, its causes and its consequences, is currently being studied in evolutionary biology, ecology, developmental biology, conservation science, anthropology, archaeology, psychology, philosophy of science, geography, and several other academic disciplines. This constitutes a substantial and incredibly diverse body of (often technical) work, which makes it difficult for any individual to learn about, or stay on top of, the subject.
By drawing attention to key papers, explaining concepts in simple terms, highlighting important findings, and discussing controversies, the website hopes to provide an ‘one-stop’ introduction to the topic that is both accessible and authoritative.
- Amongst the topics covered are how niche construction is defined, types of niche construction, the history of the field, the implications of niche construction for evolutionary biology, the key experimental work, the exciting findings that the mathematical modeling of niche construction has revealed, why it is contentious, and the ramifications of niche construction in ecology, philosophy, the human sciences, developmental biology, medicine and conservation.
- The text is illustrated with images and diagrams, and links to relevant videos and blog articles.
- The slideshow gives key examples of niche construction, in a form that is downloadable as a Powerpoint file, and can be used in teaching and seminars, with the supporting references provided in the resources section.
- The resources pages also list key papers organized by subject, provide a glossary of relevant terms, and give a full reference list for all studies cited on the website.
For general enquiries or more about the research program please use the form below
We are grateful to Anne Odling-Smee and her team at Design Science including Željko Milošević, Pietro Sandri, Dan Phillips and Caitlin Jedski for building this website.
Content created and maintained by Kevin Laland and Lynn Chiu with input from John Odling-Smee and the assistance of Linda Hall.
The following colleagues gave us valuable input and feedback (in alphabetical order): Christian Dorninger, Marc Feldman, Laurel Fogarty, Scott F. Gilbert, Jeremy Kendal, Armin Moczek, Gerd Mueller, Mike O’Brien, Adrian Stencel, Sonia Sultan, Mark M. Tanaka, Rose G. Trappes, Tobias Uller, Sophie Veigl, Melinda Zeder.
We are also grateful to the John Templeton Foundation for financial support for the production of this website.