Dynamic interactions between ecological conditions and the phenotypic composition of populations likely play an important role in evolution, but the direction and strength of these feedbacks remain difficult to characterize. We investigated these dynamics across two generations of threespine sticklebacks from two evolutionary lineages undergoing secondary contact and hybridization. Independently manipulating the density and lineage of adults in experimental mesocosms led to contrasting ecosystem conditions with strong effects on total survival in a subsequent generation of juveniles. Ecosystem modifications by adults also varied the strength of selection on competing hybrid and non-hybrid juveniles. This variation in selection indicated (1) a negative eco-evolutionary feedback driven by lineage-specific resource depletion and dependence and (2) a large performance advantage of hybrid juveniles in depleted environments. This work illustrates the importance of interactions between phenotype, population density and the environment in shaping selection and evolutionary trajectories, especially in the context of range expansion with secondary contact and hybridization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics