Experimental coevolution in microbial communities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Biosciences


Coevolution is believed to be ubiquitous and have profound impacts on evolutionary and ecological processes. However, our understanding of coevolution is primarily derived from highly specialised pairwise interactions, such as hosts and parasites and plants and pollinators. Yet it is clear that species exist in complex communities, where they interact with multiple competing species. We currently have little idea as to how coevolution proceeds in these complex communities, or the resultant consequences of coevolution. We have developed a stable multi-species microbial system which we will use to experimentally determine how community diversity affects coevolution and its consequences, using a combination of phenotypic and 'omic techniques. We will test specific hypotheses generated from novel theory developed in parallel with the experimental work.


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