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      Resurrecting the ghost of competition past with dormant zooplankton eggs.

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          Abstract

          A common prediction of evolutionary theory is that the strength of interspecific competition should decline over time among sympatric populations of competing species. Here we provide experimental evidence of historical declines in competition effects among competing zooplankton populations. Using diapausing eggs, we resurrected clones of three species of zooplankton obtained from different periods of community assembly in a single lake. We show that clones of Daphnia ambigua obtained from early in assembly when D. ambigua was dominant became extinct in competition with clones of Daphnia pulicaria and Daphnia dentifera (the current lake dominants). In contrast, D. ambigua clones obtained from later in the lake's history experienced weaker competition effects and persisted with D. dentifera. While we cannot rule out the role of intraspecific competition within D. ambigua, our results are in line with the view that natural selection favors reduced interaction strength among co-occurring species, facilitating coexistence and population persistence.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Am. Nat.
          The American naturalist
          University of Chicago Press
          1537-5323
          0003-0147
          Mar 2007
          : 169
          : 3
          Affiliations
          [1 ] School of Integrative Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA. steiner8@msu.edu
          Article
          AN41757
          10.1086/510728
          17238127

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