CR 43:81-89 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00894

Experimental thermal microevolution in community-embedded Daphnia populations

Wendy Van Doorslaer1,*, Robby Stoks1, Ine Swillen1, Heidrun Feuchtmayr2,3, David Atkinson2, Brian Moss2, Luc De Meester1

1Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Charles Deberiotstraat 32,
3000 Leuven, Belgium
2School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Crown Street, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK
3Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Library Avenue, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4AP, UK

ABSTRACT: There are an increasing number of studies documenting effects of global warming on the distribution and ecology of a wide variety of organisms. However, much less is known about evolutionary responses in species to increasing temperature. As a result, thermal microevolution is often ignored when making predictions about the impact of global warming on the distribution of organisms and the composition of communities. We investigated the ability of 2 large-bodied Daphnia species, D. magna and D. pulex, to genetically respond to increased temperature under semi-natural conditions. Daphnia populations were exposed for 6 mo to different temperature treatments in large outdoor mesocosms that simulated small pond systems. The selection experiment was followed by a common garden experiment in which we quantified thermal microevolution in important life history traits. Intrinsic growth rate did not respond to thermal selection. Instead, we observed an effect of selection temperature on size at maturity, indicating that Daphnia may genetically adapt to increased temperature within one growing season. In a previous laboratory study on thermal microevolution using single-species cultures of D. magna, we documented the opposite pattern with thermal microevolution in intrinsic growth rate but not in size at maturity. These observations suggest that the ecological context (semi-natural conditions compared to single species cultures) is very important in determining with which traits species adapt to global warming.


KEY WORDS: Rapid microevolution · Temperature adaptation · Global warming · Daphnia · Mesocosm experiment


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Cite this article as: Van Doorslaer W, Stoks R, Swillen I, Feuchtmayr H, Atkinson D, Moss B, De Meester L (2010) Experimental thermal microevolution in community-embedded Daphnia populations. Clim Res 43:81-89. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00894

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