Adaptation to simultaneous warming and acidification carries a thermal tolerance cost in a marine copepod

The ocean is undergoing warming and acidification. Thermal tolerance is affected both by evolutionary adaptation and developmental plasticity. Yet, thermal tolerance in animals adapted to simultaneous warming and acidification is unknown. We experimentally evolved the ubiquitous copepod Acartia tonsa to future combined ocean warming and acidification conditions (OWA approx. 22°C, 2000 µatm CO2) and then compared its thermal tolerance relative to ambient conditions (AM approx. 18°C, 400 µatm CO2). The OWA and AM treatments were reciprocally transplanted after 65 generations to assess effects of developmental conditions on thermal tolerance and potential costs of adaptation. Treatments transplanted from OWA to AM conditions were assessed at the F1 and F9 generations following transplant. Adaptation to warming and acidification, paradoxically, reduces both thermal tolerance and phenotypic plasticity. These costs of adaptation to combined warming and acidification may limit future population resilience.

deMayo J. A., Girod A., Sasaki M. C. & Dam H. G., 2021. Adaptation to simultaneous warming and acidification carries a thermal tolerance cost in a marine copepod. Biology Letters 17(7): 20210071. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2021.0071. Article (subscription required).


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