This chapter begins with a description of how natural selection works and how it is studied in natural populations. It draws on recent meta-analyses to answer fundamental questions about selection in nature, such as how strong and consistent it is, how often it is stabilizing (disfavoring extreme individuals) or disruptive (favoring extreme individuals), what types of traits (e.g., life history or morphology) are under the strongest selection, and how selection differs when fitness is indexed as mating success (sexual selection) or survival/fecundity (natural selection). The chapter also examines selection within “populations,” which are considered to be conspecific groups of individuals within which interbreeding is common (close to panmixia) but among which interbreeding (and therefore gene flow) is restricted.
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