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Data from: Long-term nitrogen addition causes the evolution of less cooperative mutualists

Citation

Weese, Dylan Jones; Heath, Katy D.; Dentinger, Bryn T. M.; Lau, Jennifer Ann (2014), Data from: Long-term nitrogen addition causes the evolution of less cooperative mutualists, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8tc13

Abstract

Human activities have altered the global nitrogen (N) cycle, and as a result, elevated N inputs are causing profound ecological changes in diverse ecosystems. The evolutionary consequences of this global change have been largely ignored even though elevated N inputs are predicted to cause mutualism breakdown and the evolution of decreased cooperation between resource mutualists. Using a long-term (22 year) N addition experiment, we find that elevated N inputs have altered the legume-rhizobium mutualism (where rhizobial bacteria trade N in exchange for photosynthates from legumes), causing the evolution of less mutualistic rhizobia. Plants inoculated with rhizobium strains isolated from N-fertilized treatments produced 17–30% less biomass and had reduced chlorophyll content compared to plants inoculated with strains from unfertilized control plots. Because the legume-rhizobium mutualism is the major contributor of naturally-fixed N to terrestrial ecosystems, the evolution of less cooperative rhizobia may have important environmental consequences.

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