Experimental evidence that parasites drive eco-evolutionary feedbacks

Brunner, Franziska S, Anaya-Rojas, Jaime M, Matthews, Blake and Eizaguirre, Christophe
(2017) Experimental evidence that parasites drive eco-evolutionary feedbacks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114 (14). 3678 - 3683.

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<jats:p>Host resistance to parasites is a rapidly evolving trait that can influence how hosts modify ecosystems. Eco-evolutionary feedbacks may develop if the ecosystem effects of host resistance influence selection on subsequent host generations. In a mesocosm experiment, using a recently diverged (&lt;100 generations) pair of lake and stream three-spined sticklebacks, we tested how experimental exposure to a common fish parasite (<jats:italic>Gyrodactylus</jats:italic> spp.) affects interactions between hosts and their ecosystems in two environmental conditions (low and high nutrients). In both environments, we found that stream sticklebacks were more resistant to <jats:italic>Gyrodactylus</jats:italic> and had different gene expression profiles than lake sticklebacks. This differential infection led to contrasting effects of sticklebacks on a broad range of ecosystem properties, including zooplankton community structure and nutrient cycling. These ecosystem modifications affected the survival, body condition, and gene expression profiles of a subsequent fish generation. In particular, lake juvenile fish suffered increased mortality in ecosystems previously modified by lake adults, whereas stream fish showed decreased body condition in stream fish-modified ecosystems. Parasites reinforced selection against lake juveniles in lake fish-modified ecosystems, but only under oligotrophic conditions. Overall, our results highlight the overlapping timescales and the interplay of host–parasite and host–ecosystem interactions. We provide experimental evidence that parasites influence host-mediated effects on ecosystems and, thereby, change the likelihood and strength of eco-evolutionary feedbacks.</jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2017 09:08
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2021 06:46
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1619147114
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3008019