Evolutionary ecology: survival of the fittest

Munday, Philip L. (2015) Evolutionary ecology: survival of the fittest. Nature Climate Change, 5. pp. 102-103.

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[Extract] Evolutionary adaptation will help some animals cope with future climate change, but for juvenile salmon there may be limits to how far the thermal tolerance of cardiac function can adapt.

Which animal populations will persist in a future warmer world depends, in part, on their ability to adapt to higher temperatures. As the world warms, populations can move to track preferred temperatures, they may acclimate to warmer temperatures through phenotypic plasticity, or they may become better suited to the new environment through evolutionary adaptation. There are many examples of how projected future temperatures could dramatically affect the performance of a wide range of different plant and animal species, but whether these species will adapt over the longer term is largely unknown, especially in aquatic environments. Writing in Nature Climate Change, Muñoz et al. show that physiological traits important to the survival of juvenile chinook salmon have both plasticity and genetic potential to adapt to warmer temperatures. However, the news is not all good, because one key trait — the upper thermal limit for heart function — appears to lack plasticity or significant genetic variation. As a result chinook populations face an increasing risk of catastrophic population loss if river temperatures continue to warm.

Item ID: 38112
Item Type: Article (Short Note)
ISSN: 1758-6798
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2015 03:15
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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