Coevolution between Mutualists and Parasites in Symbiotic Communities May Lead to the Evolution of Lower Virulence
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherUNIV CHICAGO PRESS
CitationCoevolution between Mutualists and Parasites in Symbiotic Communities May Lead to the Evolution of Lower Virulence 2017, 190 (6):803 The American Naturalist
JournalThe American Naturalist
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AbstractMost eukaryotes harbor a diverse community of parasitic, mutualistic, and commensal microbial symbionts. Although the diversity of these microbial symbiotic communities has recently drawn considerable attention, theory regarding the evolution of interactions among symbionts and with the host is still in its nascent stages. Here we evaluate the role of interactions among coinfecting symbionts in the evolution of symbiont virulence toward the host. To do so, we place the virulence-transmission trade-off into a community context and model the evolution of symbiont trophic modes along the continuum from parasitism (virulence) to mutualism (negative virulence). We establish a framework for studying multiple infections of a host by the same symbiont species and coinfection by multiple species, using a concept of shared costs, wherein the negative consequences of virulence (or harm) toward the host are shared among symbionts. Our results show that mutualism can be maintained under infection by multiple symbionts when shared costs are sufficiently low, while greater virulence and parasitism toward the host are more likely when shared costs are high. Last, for coinfection by more than one species, we show that if the presence of a mutualist ameliorates some of the costs of pathogen virulence, then the symbiotic community may more often evolve to a more commensal state and maintain mutualisms.
Note12 month embargo; Published online: 28 Sept 2017
VersionFinal published version