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Experimental evidence of an eco-evolutionary feedback during adaptive divergence

Publikationsart Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Originalbeitrag (peer-reviewed)
Autor/in Matthews Blake,
Projekt The eco-evolutionary dynamics of community assembly in aquatic ecosystems
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Originalbeitrag (peer-reviewed)

Zeitschrift Current Biology
Volume (Issue) 26(4)
Seite(n) 483 - 489
Titel der Proceedings Current Biology


Differences in how organisms modify their environment can evolve rapidly and might influence adaptive population divergence [1 ; 2]. In a common garden experiment in aquatic mesocosms, we found that adult stickleback from a recently diverged pair of lake and stream populations had contrasting effects on ecosystem metrics. These modifications were caused by both genetic and plastic differences between populations and were sometimes comparable in magnitude to those caused by the presence/absence of stickleback. Lake and stream fish differentially affected the biomass of zooplankton and phytoplankton, the concentration of phosphorus, and the abundance of several prey (e.g., copepods) and non-prey (e.g., cyanobacteria) species. The adult-mediated effects on mesocosm ecosystems influenced the survival and growth of a subsequent generation of juvenile stickleback reared in the same mesocosms. The prior presence of adults decreased the overall growth rate of juveniles, and the prior presence of stream adults lowered overall juvenile survival. Among the survivors, lake juveniles grew faster than co-occurring stream juveniles, except in mesocosm ecosystems previously modified by adult lake fish that were reared on plankton. Overall, our results provide evidence for reciprocal interactions between ecosystem dynamics and evolutionary change (i.e., eco-evolutionary feedbacks) in the early stages of adaptive population divergence.