Section: Evolutionary Biology
Topic: Evolution

Rapid life-history evolution reinforces competitive asymmetry between invasive and resident species

10.24072/pcjournal.394 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e25.

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Biological invasions by phylogenetically and ecologically similar competitors pose an evolutionary challenge to native species. Cases of character displacement following invasions suggest that they can respond to this challenge by shifting their traits. However, the actual impact of such shifts on competition are seldom studied. Here, we study competition between two freshwater snails from Guadeloupe (French Antilles), the native Aplexa marmorata and the introduced Physa acuta. The former has responded to invasion by rapid life-history evolution towards earlier maturity, higher fecundity and higher juvenile survival, traits that might favor rapid population growth in a noncompetitive context, but not necessarily in a competitive one. We here observe negative impacts of competition by both species on each other, though P. acuta is dominant and over generations largely displaces A. marmorata from co-cultures. In addition, our experiments suggest that A. marmorata populations having experienced competition by P. acuta for sufficient time in nature, have evolved to become even less tolerant to it. Though apparently paradoxical, this result supports the hypothesis that rapid life-history evolution has allowed A. marmorata not to resist competition, but to avoid it by increasing its specialization into the colonizer lifestyle previously documented by long-term field surveys. This example illustrates how evolution, in accordance with metacommunity coexistence theory, sometimes takes other ways than specialization into distinct types of resources or habitats to ensure coexistence between related species inhabiting the same landscape.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.394
Type: Research article
Chapuis, Elodie 1; Jarne, Philippe 2; David, Patrice 2

1 MIVEGEC, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, Montpellier, France
2 CEFE, CNRS − Université de Montpellier − IRD − EPHE, Montpellier, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Chapuis, Elodie; Jarne, Philippe; David, Patrice. Rapid life-history evolution reinforces competitive asymmetry between invasive and resident species. Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article  no. e25. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.394.

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100713

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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