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Tangled Bank dismissed too early

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Song, Y., Drossel, B., & Scheu, S. (2011). Tangled Bank dismissed too early. Oikos, 120(11), 1601-1607. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19698.x.

Th e Tangled Bank hypothesis has been one of the main theories to explain why most organisms reproduce sexually. It was most forcefully defended by Bell, who argued that genetically diverse off spring are able to extract more food from their environment than genetically identical clones. Due to the limited applicability of mathematical models and a lack of evidence that more sib-competition leads to a larger advantage of sexual reproduction, the Tangled Bank hypothesis has since been abandoned by many authors in favor of the Red Queen hypothesis, which focuses on temporal environmental variation instead of spatial variation. Here, we argue that the rejection of the Tangled Bank hypothesis is based on a lack of appreciation of the importance of resources for determining the mode of reproduction, of the fundamental diff erence between the role of resources and the role of abiotic conditions, and of the negative feedback between resource consumption and resource availability. Th is negative feedback in fact leads to an ongoing temporal change in resource usage and thus connects the Tangled Bank concept to the Red Queen concept. We discuss recently introduced models that implement these ideas, and we suggest empirical studies on the relation between invasibility and genetic diversity of communities in order to test the Tangled Bank hypothesis more thoroughly