Rapid evolution of metabolic traits explains thermal adaptation in phytoplankton

Padfield, Daniel, Yvon-Durocher, Genevieve, Buckling, Angus, Jennings, Simon ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2390-7225 and Yvon-Durocher, Gabriel (2016) Rapid evolution of metabolic traits explains thermal adaptation in phytoplankton. Ecology Letters, 19 (2). pp. 133-142. ISSN 1461-023X

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Understanding the mechanisms that determine how phytoplankton adapt to warming will substantially improve the realism of models describing ecological and biogeochemical effects of climate change. Here, we quantify the evolution of elevated thermal tolerance in the phytoplankton, Chlorella vulgaris. Initially, population growth was limited at higher temperatures because respiration was more sensitive to temperature than photosynthesis meaning less carbon was available for growth. Tolerance to high temperature evolved after ≈ 100 generations via greater down-regulation of respiration relative to photosynthesis. By down-regulating respiration, phytoplankton overcame the metabolic constraint imposed by the greater temperature sensitivity of respiration and more efficiently allocated fixed carbon to growth. Rapid evolution of carbon-use efficiency provides a potentially general mechanism for thermal adaptation in phytoplankton and implies that evolutionary responses in phytoplankton will modify biogeochemical cycles and hence food web structure and function under warming. Models of climate futures that ignore adaptation would usefully be revisited.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: carbon cycle,metabolic theory,phytoplankton,rapid evolution,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/climate_action
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (former - to 2017)
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2016 16:00
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 00:40
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/56259
DOI: 10.1111/ele.12545


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