Microscopic Neighbors, Evolving Together
It seems obvious that how different living things in a community or ecological system bump up against one another would affect how they evolve. That would include everything from the mix of fish in a lake to the bacteria, fungi and insects that coexist in rainwater that pools in the roots at the base of a beech tree.
But, says Diane Lawrence, a graduate student in biology at Imperial College London, what actually happens when a number of species grow together over generations has rarely been examined in the laboratory, since most studies of adaptation involve one species alone, or perhaps two species. â€œWe found that species interactions are really important in shaping the way that species evolve,â€ Ms. Lawrence said of her research, which was published in the journal PLoS Biology.