Evolution in an acidifying ocean


  • We summarize tools for assessing evolutionary potential under ocean acidification.
  • We review studies of past adaptation, genetic variation, and experimental evolution.
  • We highlight progress and challenges and recommend future research directions.
  • Longer-term experiments that focus on fitness-related responses are recommended.

Ocean acidification poses a global threat to biodiversity, yet species might have the capacity to adapt through evolutionary change. Here we summarize tools available to determine species’ capacity for evolutionary adaptation to future ocean change and review the progress made to date with respect to ocean acidification. We focus on two key approaches: measuring standing genetic variation within populations and experimental evolution. We highlight benefits and challenges of each approach and recommend future research directions for understanding the modulating role of evolution in a changing ocean.

Sunday J. M., Calosi P., Dupont S., Munday P. L., Stillman J. H. & Reusch T. B. H., in press. Evolution in an acidifying ocean. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Article (subscription required).

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book