A New Mechanism to Explain Multispecies Coexistence in Plants - Evolutionary Rescue Caused by the Evolution of Self-Fertilization before Flowering
Koki Katsuhara (Assistant Professor, Okayama University; at the time: Kobe University), Yuuya Tachiki (Assistant Professor, Tokyo Metropolitan University), Ryosuke Iritani (Research Scientist, iTHEMS; at the time: University of California, Berkeley, University of Exeter) and Atsushi Ushimaru (Professor, Kobe University) performed simulations using an individual-based model and found that in two plant species that share the same species of pollinator and are in competition, evolutionary rescue occurs in which the evolution of higher self-fertilization rates in the rarer species results in an increase in population size, thereby promoting long-term coexistence between the two species.
The results of this study add a new theory to explain why multiple flowering species can coexist in the same place, and also provide a new perspective for the evolution of diverse reproductive strategies in plants. Understanding the mechanisms that create and maintain plant diversity, which supports the basis of terrestrial ecosystems, is essential not only for understanding the origin of biodiversity, but also for forming a sustainable society in harmony with ecosystems, and is an important knowledge in both basic and applied aspects.
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