Evolutionary emergence of alternative stable states in shallow lakes - Sorbonne Université Access content directly
Preprints, Working Papers, ... Year : 2022

Evolutionary emergence of alternative stable states in shallow lakes


Ecosystems under stress may respond abruptly and irreversibly through tipping points. Although much is explored on the mechanisms that affect tipping points and alternative stable states, little is known on how ecosystems with alternative stable states could have emerged in the first place. Here, we explore whether evolution by natural selection can lead to the emergence of ecosystems with tipping points using a toy model inspired by shallow lakes. Shallow lakes are the best-known example where a shift from a submersed macrophyte dominated state to a floating macrophyte dominated state in response to excess nutrient loading corresponds to a tipping point between alternative stable states. We model the evolution of the macrophyte's living depth in the lake, we identify the conditions under which the ancestor macrophyte population diversifies, and investigate whether alternate stable states dominated by different macrophyte phenotypes occur. Given the trade-off between access to light and nutrient along the water column, we show that asymmetry in competition for light is required for diversification, while alternative stable states require an additional mechanism, an unequal efficiency in nutrient removal. We find that eco-evolutionary dynamics may produce alternative stable states, but only under a restrictive range of conditions. Our analysis suggests that competitive asymmetries along opposing resource gradients may allow alternative stable states to emerge by natural selection.
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hal-03992389 , version 1 (16-02-2023)



Alice N Ardichvili, Nicolas Loeuille, Vasilis Dakos. Evolutionary emergence of alternative stable states in shallow lakes. 2023. ⟨hal-03992389⟩
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