Task 1.4: Identify the potential for organism resistance and adaptation to prolonged CO2 exposure

John Spicer, Plymouth


H0 Marine organisms will not have the potential to adapt to rapidly changing levels of CO2 x temperature. 

The extent to which marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning will be impacted by elevated CO2 x temperature in large part will be determined by the potential of eco-physiological adaptation of marine organisms to these stressors.

Unfortunately, our knowledge on rates of eco-physiological adaptation in marine animals can, at present, only be inferred from either limited paleontological studies or laboratory studies of experimental evolution using model species, namely protists, fruit flies and mice. Consequently, studies investigating how eco-physiological functions in marine animals alter with multi-generational acclimation to a combination of reduced pH and elevated temperature are urgently needed.

In Task 1.4 we will identify the potential for adaptation in 2 marine invertebrate species (N. lapillus and E. modestus) in laboratory-based natural selection (LNS) experiments. The results from these experiments will be validated using data from a naturally high CO2 area (i.e. a “natural” experiment, see Huey and Rosenzweig64 for rational underpinning of this approach).