Biotic and abiotic factors investigated in two Drosophila species – evidence of both negative and positive effects of interactions on performance

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Multiple environmental factors acting in concert can interact and strongly influence population fitness and ecosystem composition. Studies investigating interactions usually involve only two environmental factors; most frequently a chemical and another abiotic factor such as a stressful temperature. Here we investigate the effects of three environmental factors: temperature, an insecticide (dimethoate) and interspecific co-occurrence. We expose two naturally co-occurring species of Drosophila (D. hydei and D. melanogaster) to the different environments during development and examine the consequences on several performance measures. Results are highly species and trait specific with evidence of two- and three-way interactions in approximately 30% of all cases, suggesting that additive effects of combined environmental factors are most common, and that interactions are not universal. To provide more informative descriptions of complex interactions we implemented re-conceptualised definitions of synergism and antagonism. We found approximately equal proportions of synergistic and antagonistic interactions in both species, however the effects of interactions on performance differed between the two. Furthermore, we found negative impacts on performance in only 60% of interactions, thus our study also reveals a high proportion of cases with positive effects of interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number40132
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2017

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