Population mixing accelerates coevolution


E-mail: bssagjb@bath.ac.uk


Theory predicts that mixing in spatially structured populations of hosts and parasites can increase the rate of antagonistic coevolution. We experimentally tested this prediction by allowing populations of bacteria (Pseudomonas fluorescens) and parasitic bacteriophage to coevolve in mixed and unmixed microcosms. Coevolution proceeded at approximately twice the rate in mixed populations compared with unmixed populations and caused the evolution of more resistant hosts and more infective parasites.