The effect of dilution on eco-evolutionary dynamics of experimental microbial communities

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Scheuerl , T & Kaitala , V 2021 , ' The effect of dilution on eco-evolutionary dynamics of experimental microbial communities ' , Ecology and Evolution , vol. 11 , no. 19 , pp. 13430-13444 .

Title: The effect of dilution on eco-evolutionary dynamics of experimental microbial communities
Author: Scheuerl, Thomas; Kaitala, Veijo
Contributor organization: Department of Food and Nutrition
Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
Veijo Kaitala / Principal Investigator
Date: 2021-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Ecology and Evolution
ISSN: 2045-7758
Abstract: Changing environmental conditions can infer structural modifications of predator-prey communities. New conditions often increase mortality which reduces population sizes. Following this, predation pressure may decrease until populations are dense again. Dilution may thus have substantial impact not only on ecological but also on evolutionary dynamics because it amends population densities. Experimental studies, in which microbial populations are maintained by a repeated dilution into fresh conditions after a certain period, are extensively used approaches allowing us to obtain mechanistic insights into fundamental processes. By design, dilution, which depends on transfer volume (modifying mortality) and transfer interval (determining the time of interaction), is an inherent feature of these experiments, but often receives little attention. We further explore previously published data from a live predator-prey (bacteria and ciliates) system which investigated eco-evolutionary principles and apply a mathematical model to predict how various transfer volumes and transfer intervals would affect such an experiment. We find not only the ecological dynamics to be modified by both factors but also the evolutionary rates to be affected. Our work predicts that the evolution of the anti-predator defense in the bacteria, and the evolution of the predation efficiency in the ciliates, both slow down with lower transfer volume, but speed up with longer transfer intervals. Our results provide testable hypotheses for future studies of predator-prey systems, and we hope this work will help improve our understanding of how ecological and evolutionary processes together shape composition of microbial communities.
Subject: ecological dynamics
evolutionary interaction
predator-prey coexistence
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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