Symbiosis is one of the most fundamental relationships between or among organisms and includes parasitism (which has negative effects on the fitness of the interacting partner), commensalism (no effect), and mutualism (positive effects). The effects of these interactions are usually assumed to influence a single component of a species' fitness, either survival or fecundity, even though in reality the interaction can simultaneously affect both of these components. I used a dual lattice model to investigate the process of evolution of mutualistic symbiosis in the presence of interactive effects on both survival and fecundity. I demonstrate that a positive effect on survival and a negative effect on fecundity are key to the establishment of mutualism. Furthermore, both the parasitic and the mutualistic behaviour must carry large costs for mutualism to evolve. This helps develop a new understanding of symbiosis as a function of resource allocation, in which resources are shifted from fecundity to survival. The simultaneous establishment of mutualism from parasitism never occurs in two species, but can do so in one of the species as long as the partner still behaves parasitically. This suggests that one of the altruistic behaviours in a mutualistic unit consisting of two species must originate as a parasitic behaviour.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics