Predation drives recurrent convergence of an interspecies mutualism

Feeney, William E., Brooker, Rohan M., Johnston, Lane N., Gilbert, James D.J., Besson, Marc, Lecchini, David, Dixson, Danielle L., Cowman, Peter F., and Manica, Andrea (2019) Predation drives recurrent convergence of an interspecies mutualism. Ecology Letters, 22 (2). pp. 256-264.

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Abstract

Mutualisms are important ecological interactions that underpin much of the world's biodiversity. Predation risk has been shown to regulate mutualism dynamics in species-specific case studies; however, we lack studies which investigate whether predation can also explain broader patterns of mutualism evolution. We report that fish-anemone mutualisms have evolved on at least 55 occasions across 16 fish families over the past 60 million years and that adult body size is associated with the ontogenetic stage of anemone mutualisms: larger-bodied species partner with anemones as juveniles, while smaller-bodied species partner with anemones throughout their lives. Field and laboratory studies show that predators target smaller prey, that smaller fishes associate more with anemones, and that these relationships confer protection to small fishes. Our results indicate that predation is likely driving the recurrent convergent evolution of fish-anemone mutualisms and suggest that similar ecological processes may have selected convergence in interspecies interactions in other animal clades.

Item ID: 57087
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1461-0248
Keywords: convergent evolution, cooperation, coral reefs, mutualism, predator-prey interactions
Copyright Information: © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.
Funders: Australian-American Fulbright Commission, University of Queensland, Institute for Pacific Coral Reefs research grant, Australian Research Council, University of Delaware
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2019 07:35
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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