, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 227-236
Date: 07 Apr 2009

Population consequences of mutational events: effects of antibiotic resistance on the r/K trade-off

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Abstract

What are the effects of a mutational event on population dynamics? This eco-evolutionary question has relevance not only to basic biological theories but also to conservation applications. We evaluated the relationship between maximum population growth rate (r max) and carrying capacity (K) among strains of the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens. Each of 65 strains differed from their common ancestor by one naturally acquired phenotypic change conferring antibiotic resistance, brought about by a single mutational event, and each was grown in isolation in four environments. We found no evidence of a trade-off between r max and K. Rather, strains with rapid growth rates also had high carrying capacity, with little interaction between strain and environment. We conclude that the extensive variation in overall fitness resulting from single mutational events likely masks whatever population trade-offs may exist.