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Coevolution, diversification, and alternative states in two-trophic communities

Cite this dataset

Northfield, Tobin; Ripa, Jörgen; Nell, Lucas; Ives, Anthony (2021). Coevolution, diversification, and alternative states in two-trophic communities [Dataset]. Dryad.


Single-trait eco-evolutionary models of arms races between consumers and their resource species often show inhibition rather than promotion of community diversification. In contrast, modeling arms races involving multiple traits, we found that arms races can promote diversification when trade-off costs among traits make simultaneous investment in multiple traits either more beneficial or more costly. Coevolution between resource and consumer species generates an adaptive landscape for each, with the configuration giving predictable suites of consumer and resource species. Nonetheless, the adaptive landscape contains multiple alternative stable states, and which stable community is reached depends on small stochastic differences occurring along evolutionary pathways. Our results may solve a puzzling conflict between eco-evolutionary theory that predicts community diversification via consumer-resource interactions will be rare, and empirical research that has uncovered real cases. Furthermore, our results suggest that these real cases might be just a subset of alternative stable communities.


Matlab code for the clone-based model in the text, and R code for the quantitative genetics model in the text.

Usage notes

Both Matlab files are needed to run the clone-based model. 


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1556208