The Red Queen Hypothesis proposes that perpetual co-evolution among organisms can result from purely biotic drivers. After more than four decades, there is no satisfactory understanding as to which mechanisms trigger Red Queen dynamics or their implications for ecosystem features such as biodiversity. One reason for such a knowledge gap is that typical models are complicated theories where limit cycles represent an idealized Red Queen, and therefore cannot be used to devise experimental setups. Here, we bridge this gap by introducing a simple model for microbial systems able to show Red Queen dynamics. We explore diverse biotic sources that can drive the emergence of the Red Queen and that have the potential to be found in nature or to be replicated in the laboratory. Our model enables an analytical understanding of how Red Queen dynamics emerge in our setup, and the translation of model terms and phenomenology into general underlying mechanisms. We observe, for example, that in our system the Red Queen offers opportunities for the increase of biodiversity by facilitating challenging conditions for intraspecific dominance, whereas stasis tends to homogenize the system. Our results can be used to design and engineer experimental microbial systems showing Red Queen dynamics.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International