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Experimental community dynamics

Thursday 3 October 2019, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Teppo Hiltunen, University of Turku

Why do we find so many coexisting species and how trophic interactions define ecological communities have been major questions in the ecology for decades. However, these fundamental questions need another look in the light of evolution. The role of rapid evolution in determining key community parameters such as species coexistence is still poorly understood although evolutionary change on ecological time scales has the potential to change almost any ecological process. The role of evolution on community dynamics can be especially pronounced with microbes where organisms often have large population sizes and short generation times. I will present recent results from a series of experiments testing the questions related to eco-evolutionary dynamics and species co-existence in experimental predator prey microbial communities. In these experiments we use a multispecies bacterial model community designed for a model for eco-evolutionary dynamics in more complex communities. We aim to understand the observed dynamics in mechanistic manner as we have collected a comprehensive data on ecologically important traits from each community member in isolation. In our community experiments, our main findings include that consumers facilitate coexistence in a manner consistent with classical ecological theory. In addition, I will present some recent results on how antibiotic resistance operates in the community context and how small environmental antibiotic concentrations can alter eco-evolutionary community dynamics.

Location: Dianna Bowles Lecture Theatre B/K/018