author={Kevin N. Laland and Kim Sterelny},
  booktitle={Evolution; international journal of organic evolution},
Abstract The niche-construction perspective within evolutionary biology places emphasis on the changes that organisms bring about in their selective environments. Advocates of this viewpoint argue that there is both accuracy and utility in treating niche construction as an evolutionary process in its own right, rather than merely as a product of evolution. Here we discuss and assess seven putative weaknesses of the niche-construction perspective. Niche construction has been neglected or… 


Whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance are discussed.

Niche construction in evolutionary theory: the construction of an academic niche?

It is suggested that the manner in which niche construction theory is sought to be pushed in the literature is better viewed as an exercise in academic niche construction whereby, through incessant repetition of largely untenable claims, and the deployment of rhetorically appealing but logically dubious analogies, a receptive climate for a certain sub-discipline is seeking to be manufactured within the scientific community.

Ecosystem engineering, experiment, and evolution

This literature demonstrates that while ecosystem engineering studies may not require us to embrace a new evolutionary process, as niche construction advocates have claimed, they do teach us that the myriad abiotic factors concealed by the abstract term ‘environment’ are often controlled in large part by organisms.

Three Kinds of Constructionism: The Role of Metaphor in the Debate over Niche Constructionism

This work proposes a three-tier categorization of constructionism (literal, analogical, and figurative) based on the analysis of the metaphor of construction itself and shows metaphors are not a mere rhetorical device but represent an instrument through which theories evolve and introduce new elements.

Mind the Gaps: Why Are Niche Construction Processes So Rarely Used?

It is argued here that models of niche construction are ignored, in part, because their acceptance seems to require additional and more complex fieldwork, yet it is demonstrated that recording and storing data on niche construction is both necessary and practical for studying species distribution.

Niche construction theory as an explanatory framework for human phenomena

It is argued that NCT’s failure to account for differing developments in very similar situations, and to facilitate evaluation and discrimination between divergent and contradictory causal accounts of particular phenomena, render NCT unsuitable to serve as an explanatory framework for human phenomena.

An introduction to niche construction theory

This special edition presents theoretical and empirical research that illustrates the significance of niche construction to the field, and provides clear definitions that distinguish niche construction from related concepts such as ecosystem engineering and the extended phenotype.

Under niche construction: an operational bridge between ecology, evolution, and ecosystem science

An operational framework to evaluate comparative and experimental evidence of the evolutionary consequences of niche construction is proposed, and how such research can improve the authors' understanding of ecological and evolutionary dynamics in ecosystems is suggested.

Defining the niche for niche construction: evolutionary and ecological niches

  • R. Trappes
  • Environmental Science
    Biology & Philosophy
  • 2021
Niche construction theory (NCT) aims to transform and unite evolutionary biology and ecology. Much of the debate about NCT has focused on construction. Less attention has been accorded to the niche:

What’s wrong with evolutionary biology?

  • J. Welch
  • Psychology
    Biology & philosophy
  • 2017
It is argued that special discontent in evolutionary biology stems from misunderstandings and dislike of one well-known but atypical research programme: the study of adaptive function, in the tradition of behavioural ecology.



Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution

This book extends evolutionary theory by formally including niche construction and ecological inheritance as additional evolutionary processes, and demonstrates how the theory can resolve long-standing problems in ecology, particularly by advancing the sorely needed synthesis of ecology and evolution.

Book Review: On the Aims of Evolutionary Theory

One often heard complaint against evolutionary approaches to the behavioural sciences is that humans have in some way acted to escape their own evolutionary history. Critics who might take this

The evolutionary consequences of niche construction: a theoretical investigation using two‐locus theory

The results suggest that the changes that organisms bring about in their niche can themselves be an important source of natural selection pressures, and imply that evolution may proceed in cycles of selection and niche construction.

Phenotypic Evolution — A Reaction Norm Perspective

The book has one central purpose, to propose and defend the proposition that to understand phenotypesic evolution the authors must take into account phenotypic plasticity, not simply as an interesting peripheral phenomenon but as an integral part of the evolutionary process.

Coevolution: Genes, Culture, and Human Diversity

The author suggests that a process of cultural selection, or preservation by preference, driven chiefly by choice or imposition depending on the circumstances, has been the main but not exclusive force of cultural change, and shows that this process gives rise to five major patterns or modes in which cultural change is at odds with genetic change.

On the Breadth and Significance of Niche Construction: A Reply to Griffiths, Okasha and Sterelny

These commentaries raise many interesting issues, but the broadly supportive tone of these commentaries encourages the author to believe that the niche-construction perspective has a strong theoretical foundation.

Niche construction, human behavior, and the adaptive‐lag hypothesis

It is stressed that humans construct their world largely to suit themselves and frequently buffer adaptive lag through cultural niche construction, and suggests that the methods of the latter are potentially applicable to all human societies, even postindustrial ones.

Gaia, Nature Worship and Biocentric Fallacies

Here I will attempt to support Huxley's position, that the universe is hostile to human life and values, and to counter prevalent romanticism and what Lillie (1913) called the "biocentric" view of the universe.

Cultural niche construction and human evolution

This analysis suggests that where cultural traits are transmitted in an unbiased fashion from parent to offspring, cultural niche construction will have a similar effect to gene‐based niche construction, however, cultural transmission biases favouring particular cultural traits may either increase or reduce the range of parameter space over which niche construction has an impact.

The Importance of a Constructivist View

The authors combine empirical data, conceptual models, and theoretical population genetics to extend evolutionary theory by formally including processes of organism-driven environmental modification.