Social insect symbionts: evolution in homeostatic fortresses

David Peter Hughes, Naomi E. Pierce, Jacobus J. Boomsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The massive environmentally buffered nests of some social insects can contain millions of individuals and a wide variety of parasites, commensals and mutualists. We suggest that the ways in which these homeostatic fortress environments affect the evolution of social insect symbionts are relevant for epidemiology, evolutionary biology and macroecology. We contend that specialized parasites will tend to become less virulent and mutualists less cooperative, compared to those associated with solitary or small-colony hosts. These processes are expected to contribute to the very high symbiont diversity observed in these nests. We hypothesize that biodiversity gradients in these hotspots might be less affected by abiotic latitudinal clines than gradients in neighboring 'control' habitats. We suggest several research lines to test these ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-677
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume23
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Fingerprint

social insect
social insects
symbiont
symbionts
nest
parasite
nests
macroecology
parasites
commensal
cline
evolutionary biology
epidemiology
cooperatives
biodiversity
ecology
Biological Sciences
habitat
habitats
testing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Hughes, David Peter ; Pierce, Naomi E. ; Boomsma, Jacobus J. / Social insect symbionts : evolution in homeostatic fortresses. In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 2008 ; Vol. 23, No. 12. pp. 672-677.
@article{bfd90052240b4e04a00fcad9088eda49,
title = "Social insect symbionts: evolution in homeostatic fortresses",
abstract = "The massive environmentally buffered nests of some social insects can contain millions of individuals and a wide variety of parasites, commensals and mutualists. We suggest that the ways in which these homeostatic fortress environments affect the evolution of social insect symbionts are relevant for epidemiology, evolutionary biology and macroecology. We contend that specialized parasites will tend to become less virulent and mutualists less cooperative, compared to those associated with solitary or small-colony hosts. These processes are expected to contribute to the very high symbiont diversity observed in these nests. We hypothesize that biodiversity gradients in these hotspots might be less affected by abiotic latitudinal clines than gradients in neighboring 'control' habitats. We suggest several research lines to test these ideas.",
author = "Hughes, {David Peter} and Pierce, {Naomi E.} and Boomsma, {Jacobus J.}",
year = "2008",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.tree.2008.07.011",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "23",
pages = "672--677",
journal = "Trends in Ecology and Evolution",
issn = "0169-5347",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "12",

}

Social insect symbionts : evolution in homeostatic fortresses. / Hughes, David Peter; Pierce, Naomi E.; Boomsma, Jacobus J.

In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 23, No. 12, 01.12.2008, p. 672-677.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Social insect symbionts

T2 - evolution in homeostatic fortresses

AU - Hughes, David Peter

AU - Pierce, Naomi E.

AU - Boomsma, Jacobus J.

PY - 2008/12/1

Y1 - 2008/12/1

N2 - The massive environmentally buffered nests of some social insects can contain millions of individuals and a wide variety of parasites, commensals and mutualists. We suggest that the ways in which these homeostatic fortress environments affect the evolution of social insect symbionts are relevant for epidemiology, evolutionary biology and macroecology. We contend that specialized parasites will tend to become less virulent and mutualists less cooperative, compared to those associated with solitary or small-colony hosts. These processes are expected to contribute to the very high symbiont diversity observed in these nests. We hypothesize that biodiversity gradients in these hotspots might be less affected by abiotic latitudinal clines than gradients in neighboring 'control' habitats. We suggest several research lines to test these ideas.

AB - The massive environmentally buffered nests of some social insects can contain millions of individuals and a wide variety of parasites, commensals and mutualists. We suggest that the ways in which these homeostatic fortress environments affect the evolution of social insect symbionts are relevant for epidemiology, evolutionary biology and macroecology. We contend that specialized parasites will tend to become less virulent and mutualists less cooperative, compared to those associated with solitary or small-colony hosts. These processes are expected to contribute to the very high symbiont diversity observed in these nests. We hypothesize that biodiversity gradients in these hotspots might be less affected by abiotic latitudinal clines than gradients in neighboring 'control' habitats. We suggest several research lines to test these ideas.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=55249101182&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=55249101182&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.tree.2008.07.011

DO - 10.1016/j.tree.2008.07.011

M3 - Article

C2 - 18951653

AN - SCOPUS:55249101182

VL - 23

SP - 672

EP - 677

JO - Trends in Ecology and Evolution

JF - Trends in Ecology and Evolution

SN - 0169-5347

IS - 12

ER -