May 12, 2014

Temporal environmental variation imposes differential selection on genomic and ecological traits of virtual plant communities

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Paul BilinskiJeffrey Ross-Ibarra


The reaction of species to changing conditions determines how community composition will change functionally - not only by (temporal) species turnover, but also by trait shifts within species. For the latter, selection from standing variation has been suggested to be more efficient than acquiring new mutations. Yet, studies on community trait composition and trait selection largely focus on phenotypic variation in ecological traits, whereas the underlying genomic traits remain relatively understudied despite evidence of their role to standing variation. Using a genome-explicit, niche- and individual-based model, we address the potential interactions between genomic and ecological traits shaping communities under an environmental selective forcing, namely temporal variation. In this model, all ecological traits are explicitly coded by the genome. For our experiments, we initialized 90 replicate communities, each with ca. 350 initial species, characterized by random genomic and ecological trait combinations, on a 2D spatially-explicit landscape with two orthogonal gradients (temperature and resource use). We exposed each community to two contrasting scenarios: without (i.e. static environments) and with temporal variation. We the...Continue Reading

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