Convergence between the microcosms of Southeast Asian and North American pitcher plants

Bittleston, Leonora S. and Wolock, Charles J. and Yahya, Bakhtiar Effendi and Chan, Xin Yue and Chan, Kok Gan and Pierce, Naomi E. and Pringle, Anne (2018) Convergence between the microcosms of Southeast Asian and North American pitcher plants. eLife, 7. e36741. ISSN 2050-084X, DOI

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The ‘pitchers’ of carnivorous pitcher plants are exquisite examples of convergent evolution. An open question is whether the living communities housed in pitchers also converge in structure or function. Using samples from more than 330 field-collected pitchers of eight species of Southeast Asian Nepenthes and six species of North American Sarracenia, we demonstrate that the pitcher microcosms, or miniature ecosystems with complex communities, are strikingly similar. Compared to communities from surrounding habitats, pitcher communities house fewer species. While communities associated with the two genera contain different microbial organisms and arthropods, the species are predominantly from the same phylogenetic clades. Microbiomes from both genera are enriched in degradation pathways and have high abundances of key degradation enzymes. Moreover, in a manipulative field experiment, Nepenthes pitchers placed in a North American bog assembled Sarracenia-like communities. An understanding of the convergent interactions in pitcher microcosms facilitates identification of selective pressures shaping the communities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Asia, Southeastern; Biodiversity; Chitinases; DNA, Plant; Ecosystem; Genes, Plant; Geography; Microbiota; Nitrogen; North America; Phylogeny; Sarraceniaceae; Species Specificity
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Institute of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 09:11
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2019 09:11

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