Strong divergent selection leading to local adaptation is often invoked to explain the staggering diversity of bacteria in microbial ecosystems. However, examples of specialization by bacterial clones to alternative niches in nature are rare. Here, we investigate the extent of local adaptation in natural isolates of pseudomonads and their relatives to their soil environments across both space and time. Though most isolates grew well in most environments, patchily distributed low-quality environments were found to drive specialization. In contrast to experimental evolution work on microbial adaptation, temporal adaptation was stronger than spatial adaptation among the isolates and environments we sampled. Time-shift analysis of fitness across two seasons of growth revealed an unexpectedly strong effect of preadaptation. This pattern of apparent future adaptation may be caused by unknown abiotic properties of these environments, phages, bacterial competitors or general mechanisms of ecological niche release, and warrants future study.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3473691.
- Received July 23, 2016.
- Accepted September 13, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.