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Abstract Detail

Botany 2015 Colloquium: Integrated perspectives on the ecology, genetics and coevolution of intimate mutualisms

Jander, Karin Charlotte [1].

Host sanctions in the fig tree – fig wasp mutualism.

Mutually beneficial interactions between two different species – mutualisms - are of fundamental ecological importance. Theory predicts that mutualisms are vulnerable to invasion by cheaters, yet mutualistic interactions are both ancient and diverse. What prevents one partner from reaping the benefits of the interaction without paying the costs? The mutualism between fig trees and their pollinating fig wasps is a powerful model system for studying mutualism stability questions. Both partners depend on each other for reproduction, cooperation levels can be manipulated and the resulting field-based fitness quantified. Our previous work has shown that fig trees can impose two types of host sanctions that reduce the fitness of uncooperative wasps: 1) fig abortion, which kills all developing larvae, and 2) reduced number of wasp offspring in matured figs. I will discuss a third type of fig host sanction. Host sanctions vary dramatically in strength across fig species. Uncooperative pollinator wasps are more prevalent in fig species with weak sanctions, supporting the idea that in mutualisms, host sanctions promote cooperation in the associated symbionts.

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1 - Yale University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 427 Osborn Memorial Labs, 165 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT, 06443, USA


Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C4
Location: Hall C/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: C4006
Abstract ID:791
Candidate for Awards:None

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