Evolution of community metabolism

Troost, T.A. 2006. Evolution of community metabolism. PhD-thesis, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Nederlandse versie


Tineke Troost investigated the evolutionary behavior of biological communities with use of mathematical models. In many modeling-studies, evolutionary processes are ignored, or use is made of simplified models that do not do justice to the biological or physiological processes found in nature. Tineke puts more realism in these models by basing them on the Dynamic Energy Budget theory for metabolic processes. Evolutionary processes and outcomes of these models were analyzed with Adaptive Dynamics theory, which accounts for the interaction of the organisms with their environment. Results provided insight in how evolution of communities is affected by various realistic factors, such as a higher level of physiological detail, a heterogeneous environment, body size scaling relationships, or multiple traits that simultaneously evolve. Also, it is discussed how these factors are interlinked, and how this affects the choices to be made in modeling of evolutionary communities.

Cosmarium feeding on a diatom Mixotrophs are organisms that use nutrients and light (autotrophy) as well as organic matter (heterotrophy) to grow. Tineke's work showed that specialisation is very difficult for them in homogeneous environments, but very easy in heterogeneous environments, such as in the water column, which has a light gradient.

The picture is taken in Buurserzand

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This is the symposium that concludes my project

Tineke's project page