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How Does Joint Evolution of Consumer Traits Affect Resource Specialization?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9836-2752
2020 (English)In: American Naturalist, ISSN 0003-0147, E-ISSN 1537-5323, Vol. 195, no 2, p. 331-348Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Consumers regularly experience trade-offs in their ability to find, handle, and digest different resources. Evolutionary ecologists recognized the significance of this observation for the evolution and maintenance of biological diversity long ago and continue to elaborate on the conditions under which to expect one or several specialists, generalists, or combinations thereof. Existing theory based on a single evolving trait predicts that specialization requires strong trade-offs such that generalists perform relatively poorly, while weak trade-offs favor a single generalist. Here, we show that this simple dichotomy does not hold true under joint evolution of two or more foraging traits. In this case, the boundary between trade-offs resulting in resource specialists and resource generalists is shifted toward weaker trade-off curvatures. In particular, weak trade-offs can result in evolutionary branching, leading to the evolution of two coexisting resource specialists, while the evolution of a single resource generalist requires particularly weak trade-offs. These findings are explained by performance benefits due to epistatic trait interactions enjoyed by phenotypes that are specialized in more than one trait for the same resource.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
UNIV CHICAGO PRESS , 2020. Vol. 195, no 2, p. 331-348
Keywords [en]
competition, evolutionary branching, polymorphism, predator-prey model, trade-off
National Category
Ecology Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-407126DOI: 10.1086/706813ISI: 000512604000017PubMedID: 32017627OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-407126DiVA, id: diva2:1415937
Available from: 2020-03-20 Created: 2020-03-20 Last updated: 2020-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Vasconcelos, PaulaRüffler, Claus

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