Loss and resiliency of social amoeba symbiosis under simulated warming

Longfei Shu, Xinye Qian, Debra A. Brock, Katherine S. Geist, David C. Queller, Joan E. Strassmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Anthropogenic global change is increasingly raising concerns about collapses of symbiotic interactions worldwide. Therefore, understanding how climate change affects symbioses remains a challenge and demands more study. Here, we look at how simulated warming affects the social ameba Dictyostelium discoideum and its relationship with its facultative bacterial symbionts, Paraburkholderia hayleyella and Paraburkholderia agricolaris. We cured and cross-infected ameba hosts with different symbionts. We found that warming significantly decreased D. discoideum's fitness, and we found no sign of local adaptation in two wild populations. Experimental warming had complex effects on these symbioses with responses determined by both symbiont and host. Neither of these facultative symbionts increases its hosts’ thermal tolerance. The nearly obligate symbiont with a reduced genome, P. hayleyella, actually decreases D. discoideum's thermal tolerance and even causes symbiosis breakdown. Our study shows how facultative symbioses may have complex responses to global change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13182-13189
Number of pages8
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Dictyostelium discoideum
  • Paraburkholderia
  • bacterial symbionts
  • global warming
  • symbiosis


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