Economic contract theory tests models of mutualism

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Economic contract theory tests models of mutualism

Citable link to this page

 

 
Title: Economic contract theory tests models of mutualism
Author: Weyl, E; Frederickson, M. E.; Yu, D. W.; Pierce, Naomi E.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Weyl, E. G., M. E. Frederickson, D. W. Yu, and N. E. Pierce. 2010. “Economic Contract Theory Tests Models of Mutualism.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (36) (August 23): 15712–15716. doi:10.1073/pnas.1005294107.
Full Text & Related Files:
Abstract: Although mutualisms are common in all ecological communities and have played key roles in the diversification of life, our current understanding of the evolution of cooperation applies mostly to social behavior within a species. A central question is whether mutualisms persist because hosts have evolved costly punishment of cheaters. Here, we use the economic theory of employment contracts to formulate and distinguish between two mechanisms that have been proposed to prevent cheating in host–symbiont mutualisms, partner fidelity feedback (PFF) and host sanctions (HS). Under PFF, positive feedback between host fitness and symbiont fitness is sufficient to prevent cheating; in contrast, HS posits the necessity of costly punishment to maintain mutualism. A coevolutionary model of mutualism finds that HS are unlikely to evolve de novo, and published data on legume–rhizobia and yucca–moth mutualisms are consistent with PFF and not with HS. Thus, in systems considered to be textbook cases of HS, we find poor support for the theory that hosts have evolved to punish cheating symbionts; instead, we show that even horizontally transmitted mutualisms can be stabilized via PFF. PFF theory may place previously underappreciated constraints on the evolution of mutualism and explain why punishment is far from ubiquitous in nature.
Published Version: doi:10.1073/pnas.1005294107
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:26519271
Downloads of this work:

Show full Dublin Core record

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

 
 

Search DASH


Advanced Search
 
 

Submitters