Spatial eco-evolutionary feedback in plant-pathogen interactions

Abstract

In recent years the potential for evolutionary change to drive ecological dynamics, and vice versa, has been widely recognized. However, the convincing examples of eco-evolutionary dynamics mainly stem from highly artificial experimental systems, with conspicuously few examples contributed by field systems. While rarely considered in the eco-evolutionary literature, the gene-for-gene hypothesis inherently recognizes the tight link between evolutionary and ecological dynamics. The boom-and-bust dynamics of some agricultural pathogens are an extreme demonstration of this. In this perspective, we place plant-pathogen systems in a spatial eco-evolutionary framework, which recognizes that ecology and evolution are tightly linked, take place at the same time scale and are strongly influenced by spatial structure. Specifically, we: i) exemplify how the ecological process of dispersal modifies rapid local coevolutionary dynamics and thereby shapes spatial variation in resistance, infectivity, and local adaptation; and ii) illustrate how the outcome of coevolution (spatial distribution in resistance, infectivity and local adaptation) drives ecological metapopulation processes. Overall, we conclude that both agricultural and wild pathosystems provide a unique illustration of the high relevance of spatial eco-evolutionary feedback in understanding species interactions.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by funding from the Academy of Finland (Grant Nos 250444, 136393, 133499) and European Research Council (PATHEVOL; 281517) to ALL and a grant from the Academy of Finland to AT (Grant No 265761).

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Correspondence to Anna-Liisa Laine.

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Tack, A.J.M., Laine, A. Spatial eco-evolutionary feedback in plant-pathogen interactions. Eur J Plant Pathol 138, 667–677 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-013-0353-x

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Keywords

  • Coevolution
  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics
  • Eco-evolutionary feedback
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Metapopulation
  • Pathosystem