terHorst, C.P., J.T. Lennon, and J.A. Lau. 2014.

terHorst, C.P., J.T. Lennon, and J.A. Lau. 2014. The relative importance of rapid evolution for plant-microbe interactions depends on ecological context. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.0028

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Abstract: Evolution can occur on ecological time-scales, affecting community and ecosystem processes. However, the importance of evolutionary change relative to ecological processes remains largely unknown. Here, we analyze data from a long-term experiment in which we allowed plant populations to evolve for three generation in dry or wet soils and used a reciprocal transplant to compare the ecological effect of drought and the effect of plant evolutionary responses to drought on soil microbial communities and nutrient availability. Plants that evolved under drought tended to support higher bacterial and fungal richness, and increased fungal:bacterial ratios in the soil. Overall, the magnitudes of ecological and evolutionary effects on microbial communities were similar; however, the strength and direction of these effects depended on the context in which they were measured. For example, plants that evolved in dry environments increased bacterial abundance in dry contemporary environments, but decreased bacterial abundance in wet contemporary environments. Our results suggest that interactions between recent evolutionary history and ecological context affect both the direction and magnitude of plant effects on soil microbes. Consequently, an eco-evolutionary perspective is required to fully understand plant-microbe interactions.

Keywords: Bacteria, Brassica rapa, Drought, Fungi, Microbial Communities, Selection

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