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Evolution. 2009 Nov;63(11):3031-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2009.00758.x. Epub 2009 Jun 22.

Fitness trade-offs modify community composition under contrasting disturbance regimes in Pseudomonas fluorescens microcosms.

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1
Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Michael Smith Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, United Kingdom. daniel.engelmoer@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk

Abstract

Disturbance is thought to be a major factor influencing patterns of biodiversity. In addition, disturbance can modify community composition if there are species specific trade-offs between fitness and disturbance tolerance. Here, we examine the role of disturbance on the evolution of coexisting biofilm-forming morphotypes of Pseudomonas fluorescens maintained in spatially structured laboratory microcosms. We identified four heritably stable ecotypes that varied significantly in their competitiveness under different disturbance treatments. Furthermore, we identified significant trade-offs in competitiveness across disturbance treatments for three of four of these ecotypes. These trade-offs modified dominance relationships between strains and thus altered community composition, with a peak of ecotype diversity occurring at intermediate disturbance frequencies.

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