Understanding limits to rapid adaptation using an experimental mesocosm approach
Human activities are altering our planet at an unprecedented rate. In order to mitigate, or even effectively manage, human disturbance we must understand what limits the evolutionary potential of populations and what impact this has on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Until recently, evolutionary potential was summarized by a population’s genetic diversity, yet it is increasingly recognized that phenotypic plasticity and other non-genetic factors may also influence extinction risk, and rates of adaptation. We set-up 48 identical shallow freshwater communities with Daphnia magna populations that varied in their genetic diversity, and whether clones were plastic or not and locally adapted or not. We then exposed the 48 ‘Daphnia manipulated’ shallow freshwater communities to experimentally induced summer heat waves and quantified the effect that the heatwaves and population manipulations had on evolutionary dynamics, community dynamics and ecosystem function. In this talk I will present the first results coming from this ongoing 4-year experiment.
Host: Mark Gessner