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Data from: Bacterial adaptation to sublethal antibiotic gradients can change the ecological properties of multitrophic microbial communities

Citation

Friman, Ville-Petri et al. (2015), Data from: Bacterial adaptation to sublethal antibiotic gradients can change the ecological properties of multitrophic microbial communities, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fp85d

Abstract

Antibiotics leak constantly into environments due to widespread use in agriculture and human therapy. Although sublethal concentrations are well known to select for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, little is known about how bacterial evolution cascades through food webs, having indirect effect on species not directly affected by antibiotics (e.g. via population dynamics or pleiotropic effects). Here, we used an experimental evolution approach to test how temporal patterns of antibiotic stress, as well as migration within metapopulations, affect the evolution and ecology of microcosms containing one prey bacterium, one phage and two protist predators. We found that environmental variability, autocorrelation and migration had only subtle effects for population and evolutionary dynamics. However, unexpectedly, bacteria evolved greatest fitness increases to both antibiotics and enemies when the sublethal levels of antibiotics were highest, indicating positive pleiotropy. Crucially, bacterial adaptation cascaded through the food web leading to reduced predator-to-prey abundance ratio, lowered predator community diversity and increased instability of populations. Our results show that the presence of natural enemies can modify and even reverse the effects of antibiotics on bacteria, and that antibiotic selection can change the ecological properties of multitrophic microbial communities by having indirect effects on species not directly affected by antibiotics.

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