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Cheptou P.-O.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology
Annals of Botany | Year: 2012

BackgroundBakers Law states that colonization by self-compatible organisms is more likely to be successful than colonization by self-incompatible organisms because of the ability for self-compatible organisms to produce offspring without pollination agents. This simple model has proved very successful in plant ecology and has been applied to various contexts, including colonizing or ruderal species, islands colonizers, invasive species or mating system variation across distribution ranges. Moreover, it is one of the only models in population biology linking two traits of major importance in ecology, namely dispersal and mating system. Although Bakers Law has stimulated a large number of empirical studies reporting the association of self-fertilization and colonizing ability in various contexts, the data have not established a general pattern for the association of traits. ScopeIn this paper, a critical position is adopted to discuss and clarify Bakers Law. From the literature referring to Bakers Law, an analysis made regarding how mating success is considered in such studies and discrepancies with population genetics theory of mating systems are highlighted. The data reporting the association of self-fertilization and colonizing ability are also briefly reviewed and the potential bias in interpretation is discussed. Lastly, a recent theoretical model analysing the link between colonizing ability and self-fertilization is considered. Conclusions Evolutionary predictions are actually more complex than Bakers intuitive arguments. It appears that Bakers Law encompasses a variety of ecological scenarios, which cannot be considered a priori as equivalent. Questioning what has been considered as self-evident for more than 50 years seems a reasonable objective to analyse in-depth dispersal and mating system traits. © The Author 2011. Source

Navas M.-L.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology
Weed Research | Year: 2012

The trait-based approach to plant functional ecology has gained considerable attention over the last two decades, allowing ecologists to address questions relating to species distribution, community assembly and ecosystem functioning. We show here how this approach can be used to address these issues for weed ecology in a new way, allowing research to shift from purely weed control issues to a more global understanding of the impact of weed communities on the agro-ecosystem. We review how weed species are sorted by environmental factors and management according to the value of traits and the role thereof in the assembly of weed communities. How weed trait values and their distribution within communities affect agro-ecosystem processes is discussed in relation to loss of crop production. We also introduce the question of the impact of weed functional structure on ecosystem services and suggest some directions for research at species, community and agro-ecosystem levels. © 2012 The Author. Weed Research © 2012 European Weed Research Society. Source

Debarre F.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology
The American naturalist | Year: 2012

Most models for the evolution of host defense against parasites assume that host populations are not spatially structured. Yet local interactions and limited dispersal can strongly affect the evolutionary outcome, because they significantly alter epidemiological feedbacks and the spatial genetic structuring of the host and pathogen populations. We provide a general framework to study the evolution of a number of host life-history traits in a spatially structured host population infected by a horizontally transmitted parasite. Our analysis teases apart the selective pressures on hosts and helps disentangle the direct fitness effect of mutations and their indirect effects via the influence of spatial structure on the genetic, demographic, and epidemiological structure of the host population. We then illustrate the evolutionary consequences of spatial structure by focusing on the evolution of two host defense strategies against parasitism: suicide upon infection and reduced transmission. Because they bring no direct fitness benefit, these strategies are counterselected or selectively neutral in a nonspatial setting, but we show that they can be selected for in a spatially structured environment. Our study thus sheds light on the evolution of altruistic defense mechanisms that have been observed in various biological systems. © 2011 by The University of Chicago. Source

Lion S.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology
Journal of Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2013

The coinfection of a host by several parasite strains is known to affect selective pressures on parasite strategies of host exploitation. I present a general model of coinfections that ties together kin selection models of virulence evolution and epidemiological models of multiple infections. I derive an analytical expression for the invasion fitness of a rare mutant in a population with an arbitrary distribution of the multiplicity of infection (MOI) across hosts. When a single mutation affects parasite strategies in all MOI classes, I show that the evolutionarily stable level of virulence depends on a demographic average of within-host relatedness across all host classes. This generalization of previous kin selection results requires that within-host parasite densities do not vary between hosts. When host exploitation strategies are allowed to vary across classes, I show that the strategy of host exploitation in a focal MOI class depends on the relative magnitudes of parasite reproductive values in the focal class and in the next. Thus, in contrast to previous findings, lower within-host relatedness in competitive parasite interactions can potentially correspond to either higher or lower levels of virulence. © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Source

Chevin L.M.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2013

Population persistence in a new and stressful environment can be influenced by the plastic phenotypic responses of individuals to this environment, and by the genetic evolution of plasticity itself. This process has recently been investigated theoretically, but testing the quantitative predictions in the wild is challenging because (i) there are usually not enough population replicates to deal with the stochasticity of the evolutionary process, (ii) environmental conditions are not controlled, and (iii) measuring selection and the inheritance of traits affecting fitness is difficult in natural populations. As an alternative, predictions from theory can be tested in the laboratory with controlled experiments. To illustrate the feasibility of this approach, we briefly review the literature on the experimental evolution of plasticity, and on evolutionary rescue in the laboratory, paying particular attention to differences and similarities between microbes and multicellular eukaryotes. We then highlight a set of questions that could be addressed using this framework, which would enable testing the robustness of theoretical predictions, and provide new insights into areas that have received little theoretical attention to date. Source

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