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Unformatted text preview: Eco-evolutionary interactions between predators and prey: can predator-induced changes to prey communities feed back to shape predator foraging traits? Eric P. Palkovacs and David M. Post Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA ABSTRACT Question: It is well established that predators can influence the structure and dynamics of prey communities and that changes in prey communities can drive predator evolution. Here we ask whether changes in prey communities, brought on by the effects of predators, can feed back to mould the evolution of predator foraging traits. Study system: We sampled lakes in Connecticut (USA) containing either anadromous or landlocked (freshwater resident) alewife ( Alosa pseudoharengus ) populations in 2004 and 2005. Methods: We examined alewife populations for differences in (1) seasonal effects on zooplankton communities, (2) feeding morphology, (3) prey size, and (4) prey selectivity. Results: Landlocked alewives, which are year-round residents of lakes, permanently structure lake zooplankton communities, thereby creating a strong feedback on the evolution of their foraging traits. Anadromous alewives, which are seasonal residents of lakes, intermittently structure lake zooplankton communities, preventing a strong feedback on the evolution of their foraging traits. This difference in the strength of the eco-evolutionary feedback between predator and prey appears to have led to the divergence of foraging morphology and prey selectivity between alewife life-history forms. Conclusions: Predator-induced changes to prey communities can feed back to drive the evolution of predator foraging traits under conditions where eco-evolutionary feedbacks are strong. Moreover, variation in the strength of eco-evolutionary feedbacks appears to shape patterns of ecological and evolutionary diversity in this predatorprey system. Keywords : Alosa pseudoharengus , co-evolution, geographic mosaic, gill rakers, niche construction, size-selective predation, zooplankton. Correspondence: E.P. Palkovacs, School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine, 5751 Murray Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5751, USA. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Consult the copyright statement on the inside front cover for non-commercial copying policies. Evolutionary Ecology Research , 2008, 10 : 699720 2008 Eric P. Palkovacs INTRODUCTION The past decade has seen a surge of interest in synthesizing ecological and evolutionary theories (Thompson, 1998; Bohannan and Lenski, 2000; Saccheri and Hanski, 2006; Urban and Skelly, 2006; Whitham et al. , 2006; Johnson and Stinchcombe, 2007) . This interest stems, at least in part, from the increasing realization that the core processes in ecology and evolution are inextricably linked (Elser et al. , 2000; Odling-Smee et al. , 2003; Fussmann et al. , 2007; Kokko and L pez-Sepulcre, 2007) . The business of living (eating and excreting) causes organisms to alter the biotic and abiotic conditions of...
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