Bacterial symbionts play a prominent role in insect nutritional ecology by aiding in digestion of food or providing nutrients that are limited or lacking in the diet. Thereby endosymbionts open niches to their insect host that would otherwise be unavailable. Currently several other ecologically relevant traits mediated by endosymbionts are being discovered, ranging from enhanced parasite resistance, enhanced heat-tolerance or influences on insect-plant interactions such as manipulation of plant physiology to the benefit of the insect. Such predominantly vertically transmitted endosymbionts contribute to the heritable genetic variation present in a host species. Therefore, the holobiont, (i.e. the host including all symbionts) should be regarded as the unit of selection.
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A new experiment to unravel the Impact of Biodiversity and Climate Variability on the functioning of grasslands
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