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Data from: Predator co-evolution and prey trait variability determine species coexistence

Citation

Scheuerl, Thomas; Cairns, Johannes; Becks, Lutz; Hiltunen, Teppo (2019), Data from: Predator co-evolution and prey trait variability determine species coexistence, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4b866r7

Abstract

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 co-existence can be altered by reciprocal co-evolution 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 co-evolutionary 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.

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