Project

Back to overview

The eco-evolutionary effects of predators in aquatic ecosystems

English title The eco-evolutionary effects of predators in aquatic ecosystems
Applicant Matthews Blake
Number 207910
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Aquatische Umweltanalytik EAWAG
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.06.2022 - 31.05.2026
Approved amount 812'000.00
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ecology
Environmental Research

Keywords (8)

stickleback; zooplankton; eco-evolutionary dynamics; predation; evolutionary ecology; adaptation; community ecology; limnology

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Räuber in aquatischen Ökosystemen beeinflussen bekanntermaßen nicht nur ökologische Prozesse, wie die Zusammensetzung der Gemeinschaft und die Biomassestruktur von Nahrungsnetzen, sondern auch evolutionäre Prozesse, wie natürliche Selektion (z. B. durch Prädationsdruck und/oder Risiko) und genetische Drift (z. B. über demographische Effekte auf Beutepopulationen). Es ist jedoch viel weniger darüber bekannt, wie solche (Öko- und Evo-)Effekte die phänotypische Evolution von Raubtieren rückkoppeln und beeinflussen könnten.
Lay summary
Die vorgeschlagene Forschung verfolgt drei Ziele: (i) Quantifizierung der ökologischen und evolutionären Auswirkungen des Dreistachligen Stichlings (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in den Seeökosystemen Südgrönlands, (ii) Erforschung der Evolution der Stichlinge in diesen Seen im Laufe ihrer jüngsten Anpassung von Meeres- an Süßwasserökosysteme, und wie dies durch die Kombination von Drift und natürlicher Selektion geformt wurden, und (iii) Untersuchung, wie die Manipulation der genetischen (und phänotypischen) Variation von Stichlingen und die Ökosystemdynamik in einem ganzen Ökosystemexperiment über kurze Zeiträume das Nahrungsnetz formen kann und über längere Zeiträume das Tempo und den Verlauf der Stichling-Evolution beeinflusst.

Insgesamt ist es unser Ziel, eine evolutionäre Perspektive dafür zu entwickeln, wie Raubtiere die ökologische und evolutionäre Dynamik von aquatischen Ökosystemen formen können, und öko-evolutionäre Feedbacks in natürlichen Umgebungen mit Raubtierevolution zu untersuchen. Wir schlagen einen integrativen Ansatz vor, der vergleichende Studien natürlicher Populationen mit experimentellen Manipulationen ganzer Ökosysteme verbindet. Wir konzentrieren uns auf die kurzfristigen (Öko- und Evo-) Auswirkungen, die Raubtiere während der Anfangsphase der Kolonisierung und Populationsexpansion auf aquatische Ökosysteme haben, und verfolgen gleichzeitig die evolutionäre Dynamik, indem wir Selektionsgradienten und evolutionäre Reaktionen von Stichlingen in den neu etablierten Populationen messen.
 
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 22.06.2022

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Predators in aquatic ecosystems are well known to influence not only ecological processes, such as those shaping the community composition and biomass structure of food webs, but also evolutionary processes, such as natural selection (e.g. via predation pressure and/or risk) and genetic drift (e.g. via demographic effects on prey populations). However, much less is known about how such (eco- and evo-) effects might feedback and influence the phenotypic evolution of predators.
Lay summary

The aims of the proposed research are threefold: (i) quantify the ecological and evolutionary effects of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in the lake ecosystems of Southern Greenland, (ii) explore how stickleback evolution in these lakes, over the course of their recent adaptation from marine to freshwater ecosystems, has been shaped by the combination of drift and natural selection, and (iii) test how manipulating the genetic (and trait) variation of sticklebacks in a whole ecosystem experiment can, over short timescales, shape food web and ecosystem dynamics, and, over longer timescales, affect the pace and trajectory of stickleback evolution.

Overall, our goal is to develop an evolutionary perspective for how predators can shape the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of aquatic ecosystems, and test for eco-evolutionary feedback in natural settings involving predator evolution. We propose an integrative approach that blends comparative studies of natural populations with experimental manipulations of whole ecosystems. We focus on the short-term (eco- and evo-) effects that predators have on aquatic ecosystems during the initial stages of colonization and population expansion, and concurrently track evolutionary dynamics by measuring selection gradients and evolutionary responses of sticklebacks in the newly established populations.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 22.06.2022

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
175614 Eco-evolutionary dynamics in aquatic ecosystems 01.02.2018 Project funding
183566 20,000 years of evolution and ecosystem dynamics in the world’s largest tropical lake reconstructed from sediment cores, fossils and ancient DNA 01.03.2019 Sinergia

Abstract

Predators in aquatic ecosystems are well known to influence not only ecological processes, such as those shaping the community composition and biomass structure of food webs, but also evolutionary processes, such as natural selection (e.g. via predation pressure and/or risk) and genetic drift (e.g. via demographic effects on prey populations). However, much less is known about how such (eco- and evo-) effects might feedback and influence the phenotypic evolution of predators. Understanding such eco-evolutionary feedbacks in natural settings requires (i) quantifying the ecological and evolutionary effects of predators (ii) exploring the underlying causes of trait evolution of predators, and (iii) testing when/how the (eco- and evo-) effects of predators interact with other prevailing sources of natural selection that determine predator evolution.Overall, our goal is to develop an evolutionary perspective for how predators can shape the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of aquatic ecosystems, and test for eco-evolutionary feedback in natural settings involving predator evolution. We propose an integrative approach that blends comparative studies of natural populations with experimental manipulations of whole ecosystems. We focus on the short-term (eco- and evo-) effects that predators have on aquatic ecosystems during the initial stages of colonization and population expansion, and concurrently track evolutionary dynamics by measuring selection gradients and evolutionary responses of sticklebacks in the newly established populations.
-