Eco-evolutionary Dynamics Set the Tempo and Trajectory of Metabolic Evolution in Multispecies Communities

TitleEco-evolutionary Dynamics Set the Tempo and Trajectory of Metabolic Evolution in Multispecies Communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsEvans R., Beckerman A.P, Wright R.CT, McQueen-Mason S., Bruce N.C, Brockhurst M.A
JournalCurrent Biology
Date PublishedDec
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0960-9822
Accession NumberWOS:000604624500003
KeywordsADAPTATION, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, diversity, framework, genome, Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other, microbiome, productivity, species interactions, Topics

The eco-evolutionary dynamics of microbial communities are predicted to affect both the tempo and trajectory of evolution in constituent species [1]. While community composition determines available niche space, species sorting dynamically alters composition, changing over time the distribution of vacant niches to which species adapt [2], altering evolutionary trajectories [3, 4]. Competition for the same niche can limit evolutionary potential if population size and mutation supply are reduced [5, 6] but, alternatively, could stimulate evolutionary divergence to exploit vacant niches if character displacement results from the coevolution of competitors [7, 8]. Under more complex ecological scenarios, species can create new niches through their exploitation of complex resources, enabling others to adapt to occupy these newly formed niches [9, 10]. Disentangling the drivers of natural selection within such communities is extremely challenging, and it is thus unclear how eco-evolutionary dynamics drive the evolution of constituent taxa. We tracked the metabolic evolution of a focal species during adaptation to wheat straw as a resource both in monoculture and in poly cultures wherein on-going eco-evolutionary community dynamics were either permitted or prevented. Species interactions accelerated metabolic evolution. Eco-evolutionary dynamics drove increased use of recalcitrant substrates by the focal species, whereas greater exploitation of readily digested substrate niches created by other species evolved if on-going eco-evolutionary dynamics were prevented. Increased use of recalcitrant substrates was associated with parallel evolution of tctE, encoding a carbon metabolism regulator. Species interactions and species sorting set, respectively, the tempo and trajectory of evolutionary divergence among communities, selecting distinct ecological functions in otherwise equivalent ecosystems.

Short TitleCurr. Biol.Curr. Biol.
Alternate JournalCurr. Biol.