The effect of dilution on eco-evolutionary dynamics of experimental microbial communities.
Ecology and evolution
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Scheuerl, T., & Kaitala, V. (2021). The effect of dilution on eco-evolutionary dynamics of experimental microbial communities.. Ecology and evolution, 11 (19), 13430-13444. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8065
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.
Ecological Dynamics, Evolutionary Interaction, Predator‐Prey Coexistence
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8065
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/330815
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/