Evol Ecol Res 8: 471-481 (2006)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Adaptive radiation in a fluctuating environment: disturbance affects the evolution of diversity in a bacterial microcosm

Nirmala Massin1* and Andrew Gonzalez2

1Laboratoire Fonctionnement et Évolution des Systèmes Écologiques (UMR 7625), Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 Rue d’Ulm, F-75230 Paris Cedex 05, France and 2Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 Avenue Dr Penfield, Montréal, Québec H3A 1B1, Canada

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: nirmala.massin@ens.fr


Questions: How is adaptive radiation affected by disturbance? Does the temporal pattern of disturbance affect the rate of adaptive radiation?

Organism: The bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25, which exhibits fast and repeatable adaptive radiation in vitro.

Experiments: We compared the dynamics of adaptive radiation over many generations in disturbed and undisturbed habitats. The disturbance was an abrupt homogenization of the liquid habitat. Habitats experienced either autocorrelated or uncorrelated disturbance.

Results: Disturbance significantly slowed divergence rates, and it did so more strongly when autocorrelated than when uncorrelated. Despite the slower diversification in the disturbed treatments, diversity converged to a similar steady state in all treatments by the end of each experiment.

Keywords: adaptive radiation, autocorrelation, disturbance, diversification, microbial microcosm, Pseudomonas fluorescens, species richness.

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