Section: Ecology
Topic: Ecology, Evolution

Attracting pollinators vs escaping herbivores: eco-evolutionary dynamics of plants confronted with an ecological trade-off

10.24072/pcjournal.433 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e60.

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Many plant traits are subject to an ecological trade-off between attracting pollinators and escaping herbivores. The interplay of both plant-animal interaction types determines their evolution. As most studies focus on either pollination or herbivory, how they jointly affect the eco-evolutionary dynamics of plant-animal communities is often left unknown.  Within a plant-pollinator-herbivore community where interaction strengths depend on trait matching, we consider the evolution of a plant trait involved in both plant-animal interactions. Using adaptive dynamics, we uncover when stabilizing, runaway (i.e. directional) or disruptive selection emerges and its consequences for multispecies coexistence. We find that strong pollination relative to herbivory favors stabilizing selection and coexistence. Strong herbivory relative to pollination fosters runaway selection and threatens coexistence. Importantly, given balanced interactions, joint effects may lead to disruptive selection, allowing the emergence of plant dimorphism. The strength of the ecological trade-off largely explains the occurrence of these contrasting eco-evolutionary dynamics. In particular, plant diversification requires strong trade-offs, with the strongest trade-offs allowing long-term polymorphism. We discuss how our results relate to various empirical cases where the interplay of pollination and herbivory maintains plant polymorphism. Beyond maintenance, our work suggests that it might also have fueled the diversification process itself.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.433
Type: Research article
Keywords: adaptive dynamics, pollination, herbivory, plant evolution, trait matching, diversification

Yacine, Youssef 1, 2; Loeuille, Nicolas 1

1 Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences Paris (iEES Paris), Sorbonne Université/CNRS/IRD/INRAE/Université de Paris/UPEC, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 5, France
2 Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Population Ecology Dept., Zámek 1, 252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Yacine, Youssef; Loeuille, Nicolas. Attracting pollinators vs escaping herbivores: eco-evolutionary dynamics of plants confronted with an ecological trade-off. Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article  no. e60. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.433.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.ecology.100530

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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