terHorst and Zee 2015

C.P. terHorst and P.C. Zee. 2016. Eco-evolutionary dynamics in plant-soil feedbacks. Functional Ecology 30: 1062-1072.
Part of a Special Issue on Ecosystems, Evolution and Plant Soil Feedbacks
doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12671 (Open Access Article)
PDF available


1. In the past decade, ecologists have begun to more fully appreciate the role of evolution in explaining contemporary ecological processes. Evolution is most likely to affect ecological patterns when selection pressure is particularly strong, or when the generation time of at least one interacting species is relatively short.

2. Interactions between plants and soil microbes are an excellent candidate for examining eco–evo interactions because interactions between organisms are tightly knit with the potential for species with relatively short generation times to impose strong selection on one another. Here, we examine the potential for eco–evolutionary dynamics in plant–soil feedbacks (PSFs).

3. Genetic variation in plant traits and subsequent evolution of those traits can affect traits and species composition of soil microbial communities. Soil microbial communities can, in turn, alter the evolutionary trajectory of plant traits. Further, the direction and magnitude of PSFs can affect the plant community, which may alter the selection on plant traits via intra and interspecific interactions.

4. Finally, we consider how eco-evolutionary feedbacks might enhance or mitigate the effects of PSFs in driving the structure of natural plant communities.

Key-words: community ecology, competition, eco–evo feedback, genetic variation, mycorrhizae, natural selection, rhizobia, soil microbes, succession

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