Co-evolution as an important component explaining microbial predator-prey interaction

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Kaitala , V , Hiltunen , T , Becks , L & Scheuerl , T 2019 , ' Co-evolution as an important component explaining microbial predator-prey interaction ' , Journal of Theoretical Biology , vol. 486 , 110095 .

Title: Co-evolution as an important component explaining microbial predator-prey interaction
Author: Kaitala, Veijo; Hiltunen, Teppo; Becks, Lutz; Scheuerl, Thomas
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
University of Helsinki, Department of Microbiology
Date: 2019-11-26
Language: eng
Belongs to series: Journal of Theoretical Biology
ISSN: 0022-5193
Abstract: Predator-prey relationships belong to the most important and well-studied ecological interactions in nature. Understanding the underlying mechanisms is important to predict community dynamics and to estimate coexistence probability. Historically, evolution has been considered to be too slow to affect such ecological interactions. However, evolution can occur within ecological time scales, potentially affecting predator-prey communities. In an antagonistic pair-wise relationship the prey might evolve to minimize the effect caused by the predator (e.g. mortality), while the predator might evolve to maximize the effect (e.g. food intake). Evolution of one of the species or even co-evolution of both species in predator-prey relationships is often difficult to estimate from population dynamics without measuring of trait changes in predator and/or prey population. Particularly in microbial systems, where microorganisms evolve quickly, determining whether co-evolution occurs in predator-prey systems is challenging. We simulate observational data using quantitative trait evolution models and show that the interaction between bacteria and ciliates can be best explained as a co-evolutionary process, where both the prey and predator evolve. Evolution by prey alone explains the data less well, whereas the models with predator evolution alone or no evolution are both failing. We conclude that that ecology and evolution both interact in shaping community dynamics in microcosms. Ignoring the contribution of evolution might lead to incorrect conclusions.
Subject: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Quantitative trait evolution model
Population dynamics

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