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Journal Article

Predator coevolution and prey trait variability determine species coexistence


Becks,  Lutz
Emmy-Noether-Group Community Dynamics, Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Scheuerl, T., Cairns, J., Becks, L., & Hiltunen, T. (2019). Predator coevolution and prey trait variability determine species coexistence. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1902): 20190245. doi:10.1098/rspb.2019.0245.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-C7AC-B
Predation is one of the key ecological mechanisms allowing species coexistence
and influencing biological diversity. However, ecological processes
are subject to contemporary evolutionary change, and the degree to
which predation affects diversity ultimately depends on the interplay
between evolution and ecology. Furthermore, ecological interactions that
influence species coexistence can be altered by reciprocal coevolution
especially in the case of antagonistic interactions such as predation or parasitism.
Here we used an experimental evolution approach to test for the
role of initial trait variation in the prey population and coevolutionary history
of the predator in the ecological dynamics of a two-species bacterial
community predated by a ciliate. We found that initial trait variation
both at the bacterial and ciliate level enhanced species coexistence, and
that subsequent trait evolutionary trajectories depended on the initial genetic
diversity present in the population. Our findings provide further
support to the notion that the ecology-centric view of diversity maintenance
must be reinvestigated in light of recent findings in the field of
eco-evolutionary dynamics.