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Data from: Selective press extinctions, but not random pulse extinctions, cause delayed ecological recovery in communities of digital organisms

Citation

Yedid, Gabriel; Ofria, Charles A; Lenski, Richard E (2010), Data from: Selective press extinctions, but not random pulse extinctions, cause delayed ecological recovery in communities of digital organisms, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1212

Abstract

A key issue concerning recovery from mass extinctions is how extinction and diversification mechanisms affect the recovery process. We evolved communities of digital organisms, subjecting them to instantaneous “pulse” extinctions, choosing survivors at random, or to prolonged “press” extinctions involving a period of low resource availability. Functional activity at low trophic levels recovered faster than at higher levels, with the most extensive delays seen at the top level. Postpress communities generally did not fully recover functional activity in the allotted time, which equaled that of their original diversification. We measured recovery of phenotypic diversity, observing considerable variation in outcomes. Communities subjected to pulse extinctions recovered functional activity and phenotypic diversity substantially faster than when subjected to press extinctions. Follow‐up experiments tested whether organisms with shorter generation times and low functional activity contributed to delayed recovery after press extinctions. The results indicate that adaptation during the press episode degraded the organisms’ ability to reevolve preextinction functionality. There are interesting parallels with patterns from the paleontological record. We suggest that some delayed recoveries from mass extinction may reflect the need to both reevolve biological functions and reconstruct ecological interactions lost during the extinction. Adaptation to conditions during an extended disturbance may hinder subsequent recovery.

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